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Introduction ...... v 

I. — Family — Birth — Education (1857-1880) . i 
II. — First Years in Parliament (1880-1890). 

Public Life — Election — Colonial Tours . 21 

III. — The Parnell Crisis (1890-1893) ... 51 

IV. — The Home Rule Bill (1893) ■ ■ ■ 73 

V. — The Independent (1893-1900) . . . 100 

VI. — The New Leader (1900) .... 128 

VII. — John Redmond and the Conservatives 
(1900-1905). The South African War — 

His Loyalty— Devolution . . . . 150 

VIII. — Redmond and the Liberals (1905-1910). 
I. — The Education Bills and the 

Catholic University . . . 183 
VIII. {continued). — -11. — -The Devolution Scheme — 

The Land and the Lords (1905-1910) . . 204 

IX.— The Man ... ... 228 

X. — The Man and His Methods .... 261 

XI. — ^The Message. The Irish Demand . . 289 

XII. — The Mission -311 

XIIL— The Present Position . . . . 331 


John Redmond 



Strongbow's Monument 

Facing page 2 

Charles Stewart Parnell . 


„ 56 


„ 128 

A New "Make-up" . 


„ 208 

John Redmond 

„ 228 

Parliament House, Dublin . 

„ 290 

Henry Grattan 


„ 298 

The Irony of Circumstance 

„ 330 


The present volume is the outcome first of a sincere 
study of the Irish problem and a wish to emphasize 
the points of agreement rather than accentuate the 
differences that separate the English and the Irish. We 
are rapidly approaching the last phase of Irish politics. 
And if an apology for the biographical form of the 
study is asked for, it is because it was thought the 
best answer to Lord Beaconsfield's demand fifty years 
ago — "We want a man who will tell us what the 
Irish problem really is." 

That man to-day is Mr. John Redmond, than whom 
few could be more typical of that Irish demand which 
has become almost synonymous with politics. It is in 
no sense an inspired or an official work, for the simple 
reason that it was undertaken as a study rather than 
as a biography, that it is intended more as a per- 
sonification of the Irish problem than as a personal 
character sketch. 

It has been written, therefore, independently of Mr. 
Redmond, but at the suggestion of various friends and 


with the kind assistance of many valuable helpers who 
have known the Irish leader. In particular I may 
mention Mr. Stead, whose monograph I have found 
very valuable, and Mr. Barry O'Brien, from whose Life 
of Parnell he has kindly allowed me to quote. 

I may also mention Father Kane, Mr. Redmond's 

old schoolmaster, Father F , a school companion. 

His Honour Judge Barry, K.C., The Editor of the 
Clongownian, Mr. Wilfred Meynell, and many others, 
who have supplied me with personal information, in 
addition to which I have embodied in the work 
impressions of my intimate relations with Mr. Redmond, 
who is my uncle, many years ago. His speeches and 
his public utterances have, however, been studied purely 
from a political point of view. Any analysis of the 
Irish demand I thought would be more authoritative if 
culled from the common property of the Press. 

Throughout I have endeavoured to keep two objects 
in view. 

The first was to give an exposition of the man as he 
appears in the framework of his career, in broad outline 
and without entering into the personal controversies 
which must surround every public man, but which 
gradually fade, like the dust from the sculptor's chisel, 
leaving the main features clear and sharp. 

In the second place, I have done my best to present 
the Irish problem as it is at root — that is to say, in 


the problem of self-government. For there have been 
three grievances, two of which have been, or are on the 
way to being, solved — the educational or religious 
problem and the agricultural or industrial problem. 
The National University solved one ; Wyndham's Land 
Act of 1903 solved the other. The last, that of Home 
Rule, remains. 

Home Rule is probably the most misrepresented term 
in the whole vocabulary of English politics, and the 
theory that the " Union '' has anything to do with the unity 
of the Empire the worst pun ever perpetrated. Unionism 
really spells bureaucracy. Home Rule democracy, and 
it is a strange historical curiosity that never has Home 
Rule been judged upon its own merits, or an attempt 
been made to justify the working of it as a system. 
Whenever it has been presented by an almost unanimous 
Ireland, it has been met by intellectual panic by an 
almost unanimous England — at least, till the rise of 
English democracy and its greatest leader, W. E. Glad- 
stone. It has been steadily fought as a scare. To the 
average Englishman the Union is something in the 
nature of things — a kind of divine law. To the average 
Tory, Home Rule is not only something foolish, but 
something wicked and immoral in itself. The notion, 
however mistaken, is not inexplicable. Home Rule has 
always been supported by all that patriotism and reli- 
gion can supply to an economic movement, and perhaps 



it is for this reason that it has entered the English 
mind in the guise either of a Popish danger, second 
only to that betrayed by Titus Oates, or else as a 
disruption of the Empire and a kind of Sicilian Ves- 
pers. And the speeches of the great anti-Home 
Rulers, from Mr. Chamberlain to the late Earl Percy, 
merely ring the changes on these two ideas like warning 
signal bells. How the establishment of a vigorous 
national power in Ireland composed of laymen ex- 
clusively can be a clerical danger passes my compre- 
hension. If it is a danger, the danger is to the 
clericals, not from them ; but personally, I think the 
spheres of priests and laymen will always be distinct 
and apart under Home Rule. As to Separation, I will 
yield to none in my admiration of, and my sympathy 
with, the Irish genius and the sufferings of Ireland ; 
but I should quarrel to the last with the man who 
wished to separate Ireland from England. In every 
British Colony the Irish emigrants form one of the main 
props of Empire ; and even were it possible one hundred 
years ago to establish an independent and hostile Ireland, 
the colonization which has diffused the Irish all over the 
world, so that there are more Irish in the British 
Dominions beyond the Seas than in Ireland herself, 
has absolutely changed the problem. And as the Norman 
families of the Pale in Ireland became Hiberniores 

Hibernis ipsis, the day may come when Irishmen in the 



Colonies may become more Imperial than even the Im- 
perialists. The establishment of a great world-wide power, 
self-sufificient in trade, internally fostering its own indus- 
tries by preferential tariffs against external powers, the 
facilitating of intercommunication between the Home 
Country and the Colonies, is an idea not without attraction 
to the Irishman, not only at home, where his whole 
trade depends on the English market, but in the 
Colonies, where many of the farmers and town manu- 
facturers are Irishmen. But as Grattan said, Ireland 
looks to the Empire as a safeguard of her own 
individuality, not as its suppression. An Empire built 
to the detriment of Ireland is not one that can ever 
permanently appeal to Ireland, for loyalty is at root 
egotistic. Separation to be made impossible must be 
made undesirable. 

There is, however, another and perhaps the greatest of 
all points in the Home Rule question to which I wish 
to draw attention, and that is what I may call its 
future social effect. Professor Dicey once offered a prize 
for a new argument for Home Rule. I do not know 
whether I have any claim to it, but it has always been 
my conviction that the argument from the past is far 
less potent than the prospective argument. In Ireland 
we are too traditional, too little scientific ; and as the 
result an historic dissertation on the days of Cromwell, 

who, unlike Queen Anne, is as much alive as Mr. 



Asquith, has far more weight than an economic argument 
on possibilities of future development. The English- 
man is proverbially ignorant of history, which is the 
very breath of an Irish patriot, and the Irishman who 
has never had the political leisure to turn to industry 
cannot discuss impersonally the problem in cold- 
blooded terms of practical business. Hence the House 
of Commons — if the two parties, British and Irish, 
could be personified — would present the picture of two 
men locked up in a room to settle a question — one 
ardent, with a heart smarting from the memory of 
centuries of oppression, impatient to redress an evil 
which was driving his family from the land, beggars 
and starving ; and the other sitting comfortably beside 
a glass of port, with a conscious rectitude begotten 
of absolute ignorance of everything beyond the day- 
book and the year's ledger. The one speaks in terms 
of emotion : the other in terms of economics : the 
one is full of past grievances, the other of concrete 
remedies for the future. And I should myself give 
up the whole controversy in despair were it not for 
the conviction that every Nationalist sentiment or 
extravagance is but at bottom the statement of an 
economic grievance — a fact which only years of com- 
parison between the two peoples by contact and 
residence has brought home to me. The racial character- 
istics of the two peoples have coloured both the demand 


and its refusal, but in both cases the antagonism has 
been due to misunderstandings. Take, for example, the 
great Land Transfer Act of 1903. Had it been advo- 
cated purely in terms of Socialist rapacity, race hatred 
or class jealousy, it would not have even obtained a 
moment's hearing. At the same time, when once the 
sentiment which was the motive force of the Land 
League and the Fenian movement was turned into 
terms of political economy, it immediately passed with 
the approval of all parties. Nor is this exceptional. 
Nearly every year the Statute Book, in grave, legal 
terms, approves of what was previously advocated at 
riotous meetings engineered by hired professional 
politicians. And he would be a bold man who would 
stand up in the House of Commons to propose the 
reversal of any of the great measures, such as the 
withdrawal of Local Government, the re-establishment of 
the Irish Church, the abolition of the National Univer- 
sity or the exclusion of Catholics from participation in 
parliamentary, naval or official occupations. 

This curious situation is due to the fact that the 
Imperial Parliament by its actions has destroyed the 
possibility of deliberation, avowed that agitation is 
the only possible means of obtaining a remedy, and 
compelled the mind of Ireland continually to brood 
on its wrongs and regret the loss of its Parliament in 


Ireland is thus divided into six or seven different 
and divergent parties. The Churches are more an- 
tagonistic to each other than probably in any country 
in the world. It is doubtful whether the fight in 
Barcelona between Anti-clericals and Catholics is half 
so bitter as between Catholics and Orangemen in Belfast. 
Again, the Irish gentry have almost all — true, there are 
a few laudable exceptions — abandoned that lead of 
intellect which they held in the days of Grattan, or even 
in those of Isaac Butt. It was their duty to direct, to 
regulate, to moderate, to colour and elevate the national 
movement ; instead, they have either emigrated as the 
French nobles in the days of the French Revolution, or 
else they have taken up an entirely antagonistic attitude 
towards the people. Their loyalty has been, not the 
altruism of heroes, but the cupboard love of placemen 
using, or rather abusing, bureaucracy to their own ends, 
as did the men of the old Irish Parliament who were 
bribed to pass the Union ; though it must not be 
forgotten that the iniquities of individual landlords 
have been visited on the class as a whole quite as 
unjustly. The result of this has been that there is no 
Irish public opinion, but only a war of classes, creeds 
and castes, each carrying hostilities on in different planes 
and never meeting together to adjust their differences 
or trying to understand each other. There has been 
a continual appeal to the outsider, to America on 



the one side and to England on the other, to bigoted 
Protestantism and to no less heated Catholicism, to 
oppressed tenants and oppressing landlords ; but never 
till the meeting of the Dunraven Conference was there 
an attempt to settle the problem between the actual 
combatants. The appeal to the outside bully of coercion 
has been met, of course, by a no less violent appeal 
to the outside bully of Fenianism : with the result 
that the quarrels have always been carried on by 
outsiders and Ireland has been wrecked. 

Only some form of parliament or legislative assem- 
bly can bring all denominations of thought, both political 
and religious, into the same focus. Only a common 
meeting ground can secure that unity of national aim to 
which all interests can come for readjustment. Only in 
an intellectual contest can the true value of economic 
ideas be tested. And unless all creeds and classes take 
their part and exercise their proper influence, the result 
is bound to be a tyranny. A parliament composed 
entirely of the representatives of the agricultural vote 
would be as much a danger as a bureaucracy entirely 
limited to landlords, just as both might be an equal 
danger to the commercial interests of Ulster. Only in a 
parliament or deliberative chamber can the value of 
education, experience and interest properly affect legis- 
lation ; without it, there would inevitably result the 
unthinking will of the majority, irrespective of any con- 



sideration but that of numerical strength. The working 
of the Local Government Act is a sufficient refutation 
of those who would maintain that Irishmen are purely 
political. The granting of Home Rule would in all 
probability kill politics properly so called, and the new 
parliament arouse no more anxiety than the workings 
of the London County Council : but it would have 
united Irish thought and broken down the barrier which 
separates the Castle from the League, the politician 
from the official, the clerical from the anti-clerical, and 
would thereby tend to the abolition of all "outside" 
appeal in domestic controversies, to soften that irritation 
which has done more to keep the two parties and the 
two peoples apart than any persecution or prejudice. 
In the end the saner ideas must prevail, and all fear 
of separation, as well as all hope or desire of it, must 
evaporate. But we must first come back to the position 
taken up by Grattan. Ireland looks to the Empire as 
the great barrier against foreign intervention from the 
Continent, and as the security of her liberties. Therein 
lies Ireland's demand for Imperial unity, and therein, and 
only therein, lies not only the claim but the guarantee 
of Irish loyalty. 

We of the younger generation are tired of the strife, 
but we will not abandon it till its object is conceded. 
We wish to see the rise of a New Unionism, based 
upon Home Rule. We are Unionist Home Rulers, 


because we believe that Home Rule is, we cannot say a 
Unionist, but at least a uniting measure, and we wish to 
see the two peoples, whose seed has equally populated, 
whose brains have equally developed, whose blood has 
been equally shed in defence of the greatest Empire 
the world has ever seen, understand each other and unite 
in its maintenance and in its victorious development. 
There are dangers far ahead ; but the greatest of 
dangers is nearer home, in that misgovernment of 
centuries which has reduced Ireland by half its popu- 
lation, and produced a hatred of England in Ireland 
more bitter than that of the foreign nation most 
hostile to England. It is no threat that is thus 
uttered ; it is purely the calm perception of future con- 
tingencies. Never, perhaps, in the whole of English 
history has the opportunity been more favourable, and 
the dispositions been more ripe, for the final solution of 
the great historic grievance between the two peoples, 
and if this volume can tend to make the understand- 
ing of the demand of Mr. John Redmond easier, the 
author will be amply repaid for his labours. 

L. G. Redmond-Howard, 
Trinity College, Dublin. 




T70R those who seek an explanation of the character- 
istics and sentiments of the Irish people at the 
present day and wish to study what might be called 
the evolution of the Nationalist mind, there is nothing 
that serves their purpose better than an account of the 
career of Mr. John Redmond. He not only represents, 
as Leader of the Irish Party, the politics, but his 
family to a great extent represents the history, of the 
Irish problem. Just as the career of many an English 
county family illustrates one phase or another of the 
history of England, so the story of the Redmonds may 
be said to present one whole aspect of the history of 

To begin with, the Redmonds are not of the old Irish 
stock; but like the Fitzgeralds and many others of 
Anglo-Norman descent, they have become Hibernior 

Hibernis ipsis. For who are so Irish as the Wexford 



men? And Wexford blood flows in John Redmond's 
veins, and the Wexford spirit is in his heart. The 
family have always been in one way or another connected 
with the town of Wexford from the first day the Nor- 
mans landed on Irish shores, when Wexford was but a 
small seaport and the townsfolk half Danish. 

The Redmonds are, therefore, one of the oldest, if 
not the very oldest, of the Anglo-Norman families. 
John Redmond (who, upon the death of the late General 
Redmond, became the head of the family and heir to 
the family estates) is the lineal descendant of one of 
the Fitzwilliams, known as Raymund le Gros, one of 
the ablest lieutenants of Strongbow, Earl of Pembroke, 
and descended — according to a tradition in the family 
— from the same stock as the celebrated Raymunds, 
Counts of Toulouse, in France, who figure so prominently 
in Church history, one of them having led a Crusade, 
the other, during the Albigenses heresy, having had a 
crusade preached against him. Strongbow, it will be 
remembered, had been invited to Ireland by Dermot 
McMurrough, King of Leinster (whose daughter he 
afterwards married), and it was this incident that pre- 
pared the way for the English invasion of Ireland in 
1 172. Raymund le Gros was sent over as a kind of 
advance guard and landed on the first of May, 1170, at 
Baginbun, a little promontory in the barony of Shel- 
burne, in Wexford. A deep moat and rampart — portion 


of Raymund's defences — are still to be seen marking 
the place where he and his little army of ten men- 
at-arms and seventy archers had entrenched them- 

But the conquest of the town was no easy matter. 
The inhabitants defended themselves stoutly, and the 
whole incident is the subject of an old ballad, called 
" The Song of Dermot," which relates that : 

'* At the creeke of Banginbunne, 
Ireland was lost and won." 

The strangers, however small in numbers, were 
evidently vigorous in the exercise of their power, and 
soon cowed the inhabitants into surrender. Several of 
the prisoners, including many of the chief citizens of 
Wexford, were hurled from the tops of the rugged cliffs 
into the sea beneath! The town once taken was kept 
for the King, and upon the arrival of Henry II. was 
yielded up to him. He in turn granted it to Strong- 
bow, and some of the estates passed into the family of 
the Raymunds as part of the dowry of the Lady 
Basilea, sister of the Earl of Pembroke, who afterwards 
became the wife of Raymund le Gros. An old two- 
handed sword of gigantic size was for a long time pre- 
served in the Redmond family as a relic and was said 
to have been the weapon with which Strongbow had 
actually cut his son in twain for the crime of cowardice, 
the weapon being handed down as an heirloom in the 



family of the "Redmonds of the Hall." About a 
century ago, however, the sword was brought to London, 
since when all trace of it has been lost. 

The history of the family from the death of Ray- 
mund to the Reformation belongs to county history, 
but by continual intermarriage they practically became 
identified with the causes and interests of Ireland. 
Though loyal, in the political sense of the word, they 
were not so in the religious sense, and remained true 
to the faith of their ancestors ; and the ruins of the 
Monastery at Churchtown, near Hook, in Wexford, was 
for centuries the burial place of the Redmonds, the 
name, " Eques Hospitabilis " (given to a Sir John Redmond 
of the sixteenth century), being probably the recognition of 
a debt of gratitude to their patron on the part of the 
little community of Canons Regular. 

Alexander Redmond, the last to be buried there, was 
the Alexander Redmond who in 1642 resisted Captain 
Thomas Aston, who was besieging the castle. He was 
an old man of about seventy at the time, but, together 
with his sons and retainers, he defended the Hall "so 
stoutly that many of the English leaped from the rocks 
and were drowned." And it remained in their possession 
till Cromwell arrived, when they capitulated upon honour- 
able terms. 

This Alexander Redmond died about 1650, and the 
greater part of his lands were transferred by the Act of 



Settlement from the Papist owner to the Protestant, 
Sir Nicholas Loftus, by letters patent of August 30th, 
1666, and the old castle took the name of Loftus Hall. 
It was only one of a large number of confiscations, but 
it is a typical example, and explains the feeling of deep 
attachment to the Catholic Church which to this day 
exists in many an Anglo- Irish family, and shows at 
what a sacrifice the people have kept the faith. 

The event is commemorated in the Redmond arms to 
this day by three woolsacks which — according to the 
story — had been placed in the windows of the castle, 
during the struggle. Another topographical point which 
occurs in the crest of the family is a blazing beacon, 
such as must often have been seen round the coast of 
Wexford before the days of Tuscar Lighthouse. 

From the times of Cromwell to those of " '98," the 
family suffered still further from the severity of the penal 
laws, when an Irish Papist could not possess a horse 
over five pounds in value, and much of the property 
of Catholics was held by trust in Protestant hands. 
The main branch, too, became reduced in one generation 
to three heiresses, among whom the greater part of 
the property was divided, and passed into the hands 
of three baronet families, the "Talbots," the "Powers," 
and the "Seagraves." 

During the rebellion of '"98," Wexford became the 
centre of the revolt, and the name of Redmond appears 



several times in the records. One old print (in two 
blocks) can still be seen in ancient Wexford houses 
showing " the beautiful and accomplished Miss Red- 
mond " on horseback leading the rebels. We also hear 
that a Father Francis Redmond, who had once been 
the companion of Napoleon's schooldays and shared his 
room as a student at Bas Poicton, and had even saved 
him on one occasion from drowning, subsequently 
suffered death on the scaffold (though apparently a 
loyalist and a close relative of Lord Mountmorres, 
whose property he had endeavoured to persuade the 
rebels to yield up) ; while several ancestors in the 
maternal branches of the family were hanged in the 
cause for which Lord Edward Fitzgerald shed his 

From the days when a political career became open 
to Catholics, the family were always politicians of the 
type one might call "moderate" Home Rulers, and 
the first member of Parliament was old John Edward 
Redmond, to whom a monument was afterwards erected 
in the town of Wexford, and who was returned in 
1859 unopposed, the two rival candidates (Mr. Devereux 
and Sir Frederick Hughes) having retired in his favour. 
He, again, was a typical example of the Catholic gentry. 
He was introduced by the mayor in one of those 
typical old-fashioned speeches which usually took place 

on such occasions, but from which we see that he was 



above all a representative citizen of a representative 
family. His father, Walter Redmond, had been the 
first to deal the fatal blow to the market tithes, which 
in the case of Wexford were particularly oppressive. 
Moreover, the family had built a small pier for the 
vessels in the harbour, had abolished the bridge tolls, 
and reclaimed much of the low waste land, and were 
at the time eagerly negotiating for the extension of the 
railway to open up the West and South as well as to 
establish the new route now being opened at Rosslare. 
John Edward Redmond was a Liberal in politics, and 
an advocate of the removal of all civil and religious 
disabilities, as well as for a revision of the conditions of 
the tenants' position, who in those days were not entitled 
to compensation for improvements. 

A generation later, William Archer Redmond, the 
son of Patrick Walter Redmond (a deputy lieutenant for 
the County of Wexford), and father of the Leader of 
the Irish Party, was returned for the borough of Wex- 
ford in 1872. 

" I can well remember the elder Redmond," writes 
Mr. Justin McCarthy. " He was a man of the most 
courteous bearing, polished manners, a man, in fact, of 
education and extraordinary capacity, who, when he 
spoke in debate, spoke well and very much to the point, 
and he was highly esteemed by all parties in the 


He was educated at Stonyhurst College, also at Bonn, 
and took his degree at Trinity, Dublin. He was an 
ardent "Home Ruler," and attended the famous Home 
Rule Conference of 1873, at which he proposed many 
of the important resolutions. He was also a temperance 
reformer. He seconded the resolution in favour of the 
re-enactment and extension of the Sunday Closing Act 
in Ireland, and was a constant attendant at the meetings 
in London of the " League of the Cross," a total abstin- 
ence organization founded by Cardinal Manning. He 
was a continuous and valuable contributor to the Tablet, 
which review, when he died in November, 1880, wrote 
of him : — 

" He was a man of large and cultivated intellect, 
refined and sensitive nature, and his fearless assertion of 
principle was ever combined with a heart ever sensible 
of warm and generous emotions." 

" In reference to the question of legislative indepen- 
dence," he wrote in his election address in 1872, "which 
now occupies the attention of the country under the 
name of Home Rule, I will at once declare my con- 
viction that Ireland possesses the indefeasible right to 
be governed by an Irish Parliament. That right has 
never been forfeited or surrendered, and I hold that 
the restoration of Home Rule is absolutely essential to 
the good government of the country, to the development 

of its resources, to the removal of the wasting curse of 



absenteeism and to the final establishment in peace 
and liberty of the Irish race upon Irish soil. I am 
convinced that ample means exist to achieve this 
result within the limits of the Constitution, and with- 
out infringing upon our loyalty to the throne, I differ 
entirely from those who would say that union amongst 
Irishmen is impossible, and that they do not possess 
suiificient public virtue to enable them to manage 
their own affairs." 

Such, then, is the history of the family from which 
John Edward Redmond sprang. The eldest son of W. 
A. Redmond, the member for Wexford, who had 
married a daughter of General Hoey, he was born in 
1857, and spent most of his early years at Ballytrent 
House, an old family mansion on the coast of Wex- 
ford, overlooking the sea and facing Tuscar Light- 
house. They were a family of four, comprising two 
daughters, one of whom became a nun of the Order 
of Marie Reparatrice at Harley House, while the 
other married an English Australian of New South 
Wales, Mr. Louis George Howard (the present writer's 
father), and two- sons — John, the eldest, and another, 
William Hoey Kearney Redmond, who at first served 
in the Army, and later became the member for East 

From boyhood to manhood, therefore, John Redmond 
lived in Wexford, and the history of his own family, as 



well as the history of the county, furnish the best 
explanation of his mental attitude towards England 
and all things English. 

He feels precisely as a member of an English county 
family feels, a personal pride in his country. Each of 
the great political movements has a special personal 
meaning to him. The attitude he takes, therefore, is 
greatly, as I have seid, representative : that is, it is the 
attitude of those who starved for a principle and suffered 
for a principle. If he is looked upon as a revolutionist, 
even as a bigot, the cause is not to be sought in the 
individual but lies at the root of the System that 
has caused that revolution and that bigotry. And if 
this principle were only borne in mind and the 
Irish grievances were examined instead of being 
denounced, it would be found that nearly every 
Nationalist sentiment is at the bottom but the state- 
ment of an economic truth. 

" For myself," he says (speaking of the influence of 

history upon his character), "the rising of Wexford 

County in '98 is one which from my very earliest youth 

has exercised a powerful fascination upon my mind. 

This is but natural. I had been reared and nurtured in 

the midst of the hills and valleys that witnessed the 

struggles of '98 ; I had been taught to regard every 

scene as a monument of the heroism of our forefathers, 

and to remember that well nigh every sod beneath my 



feet marked a hero's sepulchre. My boyish ears had 
listened to the tales of '98 from the lips of old men 
who had themselves witnessed the struggles, and I 
scarcely know a family who cannot tell of a father or 
grandfather or some near relative who died fighting at 
Wexford, at Oulart, or Ross. Every scene most familiar 
to my early youth was associated with some tale of 
heroism or suffering, and one of my proudest recollec- 
tions has ever been, as it is to-day, that in that dark 
hour of trial, there were not wanting men of my race 
and name who attested by their lives to their devotion 
to Ireland!" 

From the very first John Redmond showed signs of 
exceptional ability. He was very fond of literature, as 
well as sports and hunting, and became the object of his 
father's special care and attention, who, as soon as he 
was sufficiently prepared, sent him to the Irish Jesuit 
College of Clongowes, in Kildare. " All I am I owe to 
the Jesuit fathers," Redmond once declared at a public 
banquet at the Hotel Cecil. 

At Clongowes he is well remembered by his old mas- 
ters even to this day. The recollections of one of them 
I am now allowed to include. His debates used to 
empty the billiard-rooms then as they often now do the 
smoking-rooms of the House of Commons ! 

"All through his time in Clongowes," writes the 

aforesaid mentor, "there was no more prominent boy. 



At the very beginning the high compliment was paid 
him of getting through two classes in one year. Even 
then he gave promise of excellence in speaking and 
writing English. Even in his elocution (and he was the 
best of all Professor Bell's pupils) his action was well 
nigh perfect. He impressed one with what he was say- 
ing — he caught one. And on the stage these peculiar 
gifts were seen to far greater advantage. In Charles 
XII., for instance, in The Iron Chest, Macbeth, and 
Hamlet he always took the leading parts and played 
and looked these parts to the life. The present Judge 
Barry was a contemporary of his and made an excellent 
and eiifective Macduff to Redmond's Macbeth ! " 

" He had a very kind and easy way about him," 
writes a schoolfellow. " I never knew of anyone to dis- 
like him, and as his old school is proud of him, so he 
has ever been loyal to his Alma Mater. Also, I may 
add, he had the reputation of being one of the most 
religious boys in the school ! " 

An interview which I had with his old master, 
however, will, perhaps, give more insight into his char- 
acter than any mere abstract analysis. 

"When I went to Clongowes myself as a master," 
said Father Kane — the old mentor in question — " in 
the autumn of 1870, John Redmond was in the fourth 
Form. He had been at Clongowes for some years before I 
had charge of his class. It was a large class and, I 



may say, a rowdy class. And when I say ' rowdy,' I 
mean rowdy even for an Irish class. In fact, they had 
already had twelve respective masters, and so I had to 
be severe. Indeed, there was continual disorder, and 
they were somewhat out of hand. But not so John 
Redmond. He was always a gentleman, and he was 
extremely courteous to me. 

" For instance, I remember once we had trouble in the 
class. I forget exactly what the occasion was. Perhaps, 
no practical grievance, but merely the old spirit. And, 
after all, boys love a 'lark.' This time, however, it had 
gone beyond a lark, the boy having openly revolted and 
been downright insolent. The class looked on to see 
what would happen, evidently expecting a crisis. There 
was none, since I reduced the culprit to tears by my 
subsequent lecture. 

" But my self-restraint had evidently impressed them, 
and that the young fellow's impudence had evidently 
lost him the sympathy of his class-mates was evident 
from the fact that John Redmond came up to me after- 
wards and said almost reproachfully — 'Why didn't you 
knock him down, sir ? ' " 

" What sort of a student was he ? " I asked. 

" Well, it is rather hard to say. He had many in- 
terests. He loved literature, he could recite poems and 
quote passages of Byron and Shelley, and especially 
Shakespeare, by heart, but John Gannon, who came to 



Clongowes about this time, was more of a plodder, and 
eventually 'took him down.' In fact, comparing them, 
one might describe Jack as being ' almost lazy ' — not 
idle but dreamy, 'literary' and dilettante. Towards the 
'exams,' however, he would make up for lost time, and 
by sheer ability account for his apparent lack of indus- 
try during previous terms. 

" In English he was by far at his best, and his essays 
were always well ahead of those of the other scholars. 
It was not mere superficial knowledge (for he always 
had an extraordinary memory), so much as the elevated 
and dignified way he had of looking at any given 
subject which struck me. And when there was a 'Con- 
sultatio,' or public display, I often made him read out 
his own essays publicly, some of which I still have 
among my papers." 

" What would you say was the chief point in his 
character ? " I inquired. 

" I should say his ' maturity.' He had been matured 
by his home life and his devotion to both his parents 
and sisters. His father, William Archer Redmond, who 
was the member for Wexford, used often to come to 
see his son, and was always full of interest in his 
doings. And 'Jack' always seemed to have a 
grand, old-fashioned respect for his father, and thus 
he acquired part of his father's refinement and polish, 
and the close intimacy between them gave him a 



maturity of mind which at once]| placed him in a 
different category to that of his companions. 

" About the same time he began to make his mark on 
the stage and in the debate. As to the stage, he was 
the greatest actor that was ever seen at Clongowes. It 
was in the year 1871 that he first played Macbeth. 
The next year he played Hamlet, which was even a 
more marked success than his Macbeth of the year 

" His other forte — though he was an all-round-man — was 
essentially the debate. He was awarded the Clongowes 
debate medal — which, as you know, is given every year 
to the best speaker — and if ever anyone deserved it and 
had proved himself worthy of it, it was John Redmond. 
The Debating Society was much what it is everywhere 
in colleges all the world over — semi-parliamentary, semi- 
academic. Daniel O'Connell had been a great admirer 
of the Clongowes Debating Society, and no doubt the 
memory of his stirring words had encouraged many 
young aspirants like Jack. He was wont to come down 
from Dublin to listen and to take the chair. He would 
sometimes speak, too, and the records of his words must 
have been still in existence in the days of Redmond. 
They all perished, however, in the great fire when 
the study hall was burnt down and the Minutes Book 
was destroyed. Father Fegan, who was later higher- 
line Prefect, was Redmond's chief rival, and both these 



fiery leaders would wax eloquent anent the respective 
merits of Cicero or Demosthenes, and rouse their 
followers to equal pitches of enthusiasm. Later, how- 
ever, under the guidance of John Redmond, the debates 
ceased to have that mere academic value, and their 
energies were turned into more useful directions, and 
questions of Irish history, as well as topics of current 
politics, were introduced ; and not a little of Redmond's 
experience and skill is due to the training which he 
received in the Clongowes Debating Society, before he 
sailed forth to measure swords with the mighty orators 
of the British House of Commons. 

" Besides the ordinary debates there were also the 
public debates. For example, on Academy Day, when 
all the guests and parents would come down to Clon- 
gowes, then John Redmond really shone. In addition 
to the public debate I would induce him to recite a 
Latin ode or declaim one of Cicero's speeches. 

" Redmond was also exceedingly good at games, and 
was greatly loved and respected by his companions, as, 
indeed, he was by his superiors. A first-rate bowler and 
a smart batsman, he was, in his last year, elected Vice- 
Captain of the school. His father, whom I knew very 
well, used often to come down. Once I met the twain 
and found Jack sporting some magnificent cigars, a 
present from his father. Being then in my private and 

not my official capacity, I ventured to suggest that if 



he wished to enjoy them to the full he had better 
smoke them then and there, despite the immediate 
proximity of the school. He took my advice; though I 
firmly believe it was the only advice of mine he ever 
repented of taking. 

" Another point strikes me, now that I am talking of 
advice. He was the favourite and pet pupil of Bell, the 
great elocutionist. Bell was a big, pompous man who 
wore his hair down on his shoulders, and walked with 
a martial strut. He was the regular type of the old- 
fashioned school of a century ago, the reductio ad 
absurdum of Burke, a regular pompous orator, who 
would no doubt have gone down very well with our 
grandfathers, but who to-day would be looked upon as 
a mere bombastic nonentity. Bell was always fond of 
getting John Redmond under his direction, and probably 
much of the former's elocution had been rehearsed be- 
tween them. 

'"Listen to all he's got to say, John,' I often told him, 
'and don't do anything he says. You do it better 
yourself.' And I believe he did. 

" It is hard to say whether any of us ever dreamed 

that he might acquire the position he now occupies. It 

was only the other day I read in one of the leading 

political papers that were he to throw in his lot with 

Liberal or Conservative, he would most certainly become 

Prime Minister of England ! But, of course, all that is 

17 2 


mere speculation, and to me is only significant as a 
tribute to the character and the abilities of the dearest 
of my old pupils. 

" I can only say this — that while they are in the hands 
of John Redmond, the destinies of Ireland are safe, as 
far as ability of mind and nobility of character are 
concerned. I have known him from a boy, and I say 
again, as long as the destinies of Ireland are in his 
hands they are in the keeping of an honest man." 

It is a pleasant remembrance, and when upon St. 
Patrick's Day, 1908, Father Kane stood up in the 
banqueting hall of the Hotel Cecil and gave a few of 
his recollections, the audience were moved to see the 
evident pride of the old master, then almost completely 
blind, when he spoke of his favourite pupil. 

Upon leaving Clongowes John Redmond spent some 

time as a " philosopher," as those students who had 

passed through the curriculum and returned were called. 

These privileged ones had their private rooms and were 

allowed to keep their dogs, and occasionally were 

permitted to shoot. But this did not last long, and he 

went up to Dublin, and, entering Trinity College, took 

rooms in Botany Bay. He did not stay to get his 

degree. Most of his energies seem to have been devoted 

to getting through his " Bar " exams, and following 

the lectures at the King's Inns, at Dublin. 

The following recollection is from one of his fellow 



students, and is given in W. T. Stead's character sketch 
of him : 

" I first made John Redmond's acquaintance," wrote 
Mr. W. M. Cook in 1901, "some sixteen or eighteen 
years ago, when we were law students together at the 
King's Inns, in Dublin. It will surprise most people, I 
am sure, to learn that my earliest impressions of him 
were as a temperance reformer. The Irish National 
movement has always been closely associated with the 
drink traffic, and in the atmosphere of an Irish Protes- 
tant home the two are closely connected in thought. It 
is impossible to convey to anyone not brought up in 
that atmosphere how strict is the caste system that 
prevails in Ireland. There is nothing like it in England ; 
nothing like it anywhere in the Empire except India. 
It was the fact that Mr. Redmond was almost a total 
abstainer that first brought us together. The meeting 
was in this wise : 

" It was the custom for the students of King's Inns 
to dine in messes of six. A fixed quantity of wine 
per head was allowed to each table, and thereby 
students, of whom there were a few, always sought 
diligently for totally abstaining acquaintances to join 
their mess. As I did not drink wine, I found myself 
in great demand, and on one occasion the same mess 
captured John Redmond also. As he never took more 
than half a glass of wine at dinner this table regarded 


itself lucky as having six bottles of wine for four 
persons, and I had the privilege of being introduced 
to Mr. Redmond." 

The story, though trivial, is characteristic. It shows 
in part the influence of the father, and it shows also 
the chief note in Mr. Redmond's character — i.e., an 
avoidance of extreme measures, of faddists and idealists, 
and a power of self-control that can say — "thus far 
and no farther." 

It was some years before he was called to the Bar, nor 
did he at once take his degree. He proceeded to 
London, partly to help his father, who suffered 
from heart disease, and partly to prepare himself for 
a political career, and for a time he occupied the 
position of a clerk in the Vote Office in the House 
of Commons. Later he became a contributor to the 
Weekly Register, for which he used to write the 
Parliamentary letter. A story told by Wilfred Meynell 
(then editor) of Lord Russell of Killowen is amusing. 
There was not a little of the Tory spirit in some 
quarters of the Redmond family, and the late Lord 
Russell knew this. And when, as Attorney-General, he 
learned of the humble weekly sovereign that used to be 
John Redmond's modest reward, he exclaimed : " My 
God 1 You don't mean to say the fellow took it ? " 
" Better men have taken less," was the reply of the 
veteran journalist ! " and worse have taken more." 



1880— 1890 


TT was probably as a clerk in the Vote Office of the 
House of Commons that John Redmond obtained 
his first lessons in parliamentary procedure. It was a 
position worth about ;£'300 a year and was chiefly con- 
cerned with the preparation of documents and the 
distribution of the agenda papers. It was in the gift of 
the Speaker, and usually led to the highest positions in 
the official staff of the House. Here, as son of the 
member for Wexford as well as in his official capacity, 
he was brought into close touch with the Irish Party, 
though not perhaps with Parnell, its leader. 

For when his father died, according to Mr. T. M. 
Healy, and he was requested by his constituents, with 
whom he was familiar from boyhood, to stand for the 
seat, Parnell, to whom he had written to announce his 
intention of putting up for that constituency, did not for 

the moment appear to remember him. Parnell showed 



the letter to Mr. Healy, saying, "Who is this chap?" 
" Don't you remember young Redmond that hands us out 
the programmes ! " returned Mr. Healy. " What ! that 
damned fellow," was the leader's remark on the young 
man who was later to be his champion. Whatever the 
rest of the conversation was Mr. Healy does not say ; but 
as a result Parnell asked the aspiring member to stand 
aside in favour of his own friend, Mr. Healy, who was 
then being prosecuted for a speech in his native town 
supporting some evicted tenants, and his return, it was 
thought, would be a blow to the Government. 

Mr. Redmond retired, and though had there been 
a contest he would probably have been returned, he 
made one of his first speeches shortly after his father's 
funeral in favour of Mr. Healy. But it must be 
admitted that his rival returned the compliment when 
the next vacancy occurred some months later, by suggest- 
ing to the Irish leader, " Why not return Redmond ? " 

Accordingly — early in 1881 — Mr. John Redmond, law 

student, became candidate for New Ross. Captain 

William Redmond, his brother, then in the Militia, 

according to another unkind story told by Mr. T. M. 

Healy, sent a telegram from the barracks in Wexford to 

the effect, "For God's sake don't disgrace the family 

by joining the Land League and Parnell." But the 

Land League he did join and Parnell too, for whom 

he had already, it appears, shed his blood. 



The occasion was at Enniscorthy shortly after Parnell 
had returned from America in 1880. A noisy crowd 
of some five thousand, led by priests, were against 
Parnell. They would not allow him to speak ; he was 
struck on the face with a rotten egg ; one leg of his 
trousers was rent from top to bottom. Redmond was 
subsequently walking with Parnell when he was knocked 
down by the mob and his face cut. "What's the 
matter ? " said the leader when they rejoined each other 
at the railway station. John Redmond told him what 
had happened. " Well, you have shed your blood for 
me, at all events," was the reply. Probably this was 
one of the first links that bound the two, for Mr. 
Redmond's father had been more of a disciple of Butt, 
the predecessor of Parnell in the leadership of the 
Irish Party, Parnell being only a rising man when the 
elder Redmond died. 

"When I entered Parliament," said Mr. Redmond in 
New York, reviewing the situation some years later, 
" the British public was in the very midst of one of 
the most desperate of the Irish crises. An Irish leader 
had arisen who had taken a new way of obtaining 
redress for Ireland. Mr. Parnell found that the British 
Parliament insisted upon turning a deaf ear to Ireland's 
claim for justice. He resolved to adopt the simple 
yet masterly device of preventing Parliament doing 
any work until it consented to listen. In this policy 



he was successful. He was the first man who, as 
Wendell Phillips afterwards said of him in Boston, made 
John Bull listen to the voice of Ireland. 

"The task he had undertaken was a desperate one, 
and at first all the odds were against him. He was 
in a small minority in his own party. Isaac Butt, the 
leader of the Irish Party, a great orator and consti- 
tutional lawyer, commanded the allegiance of four-fifths 
of the Home Rule members and had denounced the 
new policy as 'mischievous and insane.' Parnell him- 
self was young, inexperienced, not gifted with an Irish 
fluency of speech, but on the contrary weighted with 
a halting delivery almost painful to listen to. All the 
men of brilliant Parliamentary talent amongst the Irish 
members were against him. On his side were only a 
handful of young, untried and inexperienced members. 
More than all, perhaps, he had the unwritten laws and 
traditions of the House of Commons to combat. On 
the other hand, however, he had to sustain him, the 
sympathy of the masses of the Irish people, and he 
speedily found within the four corners of the rules 
and orders of the House, ample room to obstruct 
public business and to paralyse the legislative machine. 
. . . .Nothing was too great or too small a question 
for discussion. ..." 

All this was witnessed with beating heart by the 

people of Ireland. Hope in Parliamentary action 



revived, and day by day Mr. Parnell's power grew. 
Mr. Butt had died, his successor, Mr. Shaw, was 
politically a cipher, and the General Election of 1880 
saw Parnell safely installed as the leader of the Irish 
Nationalist Party, and his policy enthusiastically adopted 
by the people. 

It was with this new party of new men that John 
Redmond threw in his lot when he put up for the 
borough of New Ross. The election was quiet and un- 
contested ; and Mr. Redmond's speech short and to the 

There was a crisis in Irish history, he told his 
constituents. There was no such thing as constitu- 
tional government in Ireland, though England posed 
as the champion of liberty. The Coercion Bill was 
an open declaration of war upon every man in Ireland. 
The duty of a • nation menaced with such a measure 
was plain — resistance by every means in their power. 
To meet this, force was impossible. He, therefore, 
advised passive, but stern, unflinching moral resistance, 
and such a work was in his eyes righteous and holy, 
and he said that, as far as he was concerned, he 
would, if elected, go to Parliament filled with the 
desire to give expression to their eternal hatred of 
foreign rule, and their determination to stand by the 
present agitation until the land of Ireland was free, and 
if necessary to suffer as their fathers had suffered before 



them rather than desist from the holy enterprise in 
which the manhood of Ireland was engaged. 

As there was no contest, there was little demon- 
stration, save in the evening, when the local brass 
bands and fife-and-drum bands paraded the streets. 
And after Mr. Redmond had addressed his constituents 
again from the window of Father Furlong's house, the 
crowd dispersed quietly, and went off to their homes, 
having given a few cheers, though they had to be 
reminded to do so. " But," added the local journal, as if 
to censure the apathy of the inhabitants of New Ross, 
"a magnificent display of the phenomenon known as 
the Aurora Borealis was visible that night in the town ! " 

In Wexford, however, the native town of the family, 
the news of the election of John Edward Redmond, 
law student, of 40, Charlwood Street, Belgrave Road, 
London, was received with the wildest exultation. Tar 
barrels blazed in every direction, and crowds assembled 
round the monument erected to the new member's 
father, and sang the " Boys of Wexford " ; while the 
inevitable brass, fife and temperance bands paraded the 
streets till the early hours of the morning. 

"I have no hesitation," said the Rev. P. M. Fur- 
long, C.C, introducing the young Trinity undergraduate, 
"in saying that in Mr. Redmond we shall have a re- 
presentative still more in sympathy, if possible, with the 

feelings of his constituents, and the Irish people, than 



our late representative, and I am sure we will find in 
him a standard-bearer fully qualified to bear with 
honour to us and credit to himself the banner of our 
ancient borough. Though young in political life," he 
continued, " Mr. Redmond is not inexperienced in 
political life. He is active, and is gifted with much 
intellectual power, and a high degree of eloquence. He 
comes from an ancient Wexford stock whom even the 
breath of calumny has never ventured to stain, and, 
above all, he is filled with a generous devotion to the 
cause of Ireland and to our illustrious leader, Charles 
Stewart Parnell." 

The estimate of character has proved accurate, for if 
there is anything which could be said to be synonymous 
with " Redmondism " it is the whole-hearted patriotism 
and an almost fierce attachment to the leader which 
distinguished Mr. Redmond in after years. 

The account of his first experience in the House was 
rather dramatic and is best told in Mr. Redmond's own 
words to an American audience. 

" At the moment when the sheriff declared me duly 
elected, the House of Commons had already been 
sitting continuously for some twenty-four hours. The 
brunt of the fight against the Coercion Bill was being 
borne by some dozen of Mr. Parnell's most active 
supporters; and they were looking anxiously for my 
election to send them a recruit. I received a witfe 



urging me not to lose an hour in crossing to West- 
minster. I started at once, and travelled all night to 
London. On my way I received another wire saying the 
House was still sitting. I reached London about seven 
o'clock on a dark and cold winter's morning and drove 
straight from the station to the House of Commons. 

" And it was thus, travel-stained and weary, that 
I first presented myself as a member of the British 
Parliament. The House was still sitting, it had been 
sitting without a break for over forty hours, and 
I shall never forget the appearance the chamber 
presented. The floor was littered with paper. A few 
dishevelled and weary Irishmen were on one side of 
the House, about a hundred infuriated Englishmen 
upon the other ; some of them still in evening dress, 
and wearing what once were white shirts of the night 
before last. Mr. Parnell was upon his legs, with pale 
cheeks and drawn face, his hands clenched behind his 
back, facing without flinching a continuous roar of inter- 
ruption. It was now about eight o'clock. Half of Mr. 
Parnell's followers were out of the chamber snatching a 
few moments' sleep in chairs in the library or smoke- 
room. Those who remained had each a specified period 
of time allotted to him to speak, and they were wearily 
waiting their turn. As they caught sight of me standing 
at the bar of the House of Commons there was a cheer 

of welcome. I was unable to come to their aid, how- 



ever, as under the rules of the House I could not take 
my seat until the commencement of a new sitting. My 
very presence, however, brought, I think, a sense of 
encouragement and approaching relief to them, and I 
stood there at the bar with my travelling coat still 
upon me, gazing alternately with indignation and ad- 
miration at the amazing scene presented to my gaze. 

" This, then, was the great Parliament of England ! Of 
intelligent debate there was none. It was one unbroken 
scene of turbulence and disorder. The few Irishmen 
remained quiet, too much amused, perhaps, or too much 
exhausted to retaliate. It was the English — the members 
of the first assembly of gentlemen in Europe, as they 
love to style it — who howled and roared, and almost 
foamed at the mouth with rage at the calm and pale- 
featured young man who stood patiently facing them, 
and endeavouring from time to time to make himself 

" The galleries were filled with strangers every whit 

as excited as the members, and even the Ladies' Gallery 

contained its dozen or so of eager spectators. No one 

knew what was going to happen. There was no power 

under the rules of the House to stop the debate, 

consequently it had resolved itself into a question of 

physical endurance, and it seemed as if the Irishmen 

battling for the liberties of their country were capable 

of resisting until the impotence of the House of 



Commons had covered it with the contempt and ridicule 
of Europe. 

" At last the end came suddenly and unexpectedly. 
At eight o'clock Mr. Speaker Brand, from a sense of 
duty, as he said, and acting on his own responsibility, 
and in defiance of the rules of the House, ordered the 
debate to cease. 

" The Irish members endeavoured to protest by speech 
against this proceeding, and failing in the attempt, they 
rose in their seats, and left the chamber in a body 
shouting ' Privilege,' a cry not heard in that place 
since Charles I. attempted to invade the liberty of 
Parliament. So ended the first battle over this Coercion 
Bill, the net result being that England found, in order 
to suspend the constitution in Ireland, she was obliged 
to destroy the most cherished tradition and most 
precious possession of her Parliament : the freedom of 
speech of its members ! 

" The following day my membership of the House of 
Commons actually commenced, and I had an experience, 
I believe, absolutely unique in Parliamentary history. I 
took my oath and my seat, made my maiden speech, 
and was suspended and expelled from the House for the 
rest of the sitting — all in the same evening 1 It was not 
of my choosing ; I had the distinction thrust upon me. 
It occurred in this way. 

" The excitement of the previous day had been 



intensified by the news of the arrest of Mr. Davitt in 
Ireland. Mr. Dillon had endeavoured to extract some 
explanation from the Government and had been named 
and suspended, and then Mr. Parnell, on the Prime 
Minister rising to speak, moved : ' That Mr. Gladstone 
be not heard.' " 

What occurred afterwards was thus described by an 
English writer of the time. The Speaker ruled 
that Mr. Gladstone was in possession of the House, 
whereupon Mr. Parnell, rising amidst cheers from the 
Irish members, moved that Mr. Gladstone "be not 
heard." The Speaker again calling upon Mr. Gladstone, 
Mr. Parnell shouted oOt, " I insist upon my motion 
being put." The Speaker, having warned Mr. Parnell 
that his conduct was wilfully obstructive, again called on 
Mr. Gladstone, who had not proceeded beyond his first 
sentence when Mr. Parnell, rising excitedly, insisted 
upon his right to be heard. " I name Mr. Parnell as 
disregarding the authority of the Chair," said the 
Speaker. Mr. Gladstone moved his suspension. The 
House was cleared for a division in the usual manner, 
but the Irish members remained seated, Mr. R. Power, 
the Whip, walking round and round as a shepherd's 
dog guards a flock of sheep. Mr. A. M. Sullivan 
shouted out : " We contest the legality of the proceed- 
ing," and the Speaker, after the division, reported the 
matter to the House. 



" For this refusal to vote," continues Mr. Redmond, " the 
Irish members were suspended, myself among the num- 
ber. Having been suspended, we each in turn refused 
to leave the chamber, and, addressing the Speaker, pro- 
tested against the entire proceeding, and intimated that 
unless superior force was employed, we should resist. 
That was my maiden speech! Superior force, in the 
shape of the Sergeant-at-Arms and his merry men, was 
then applied, and eventually each one of us was escorted 
under arrest from our seats, and thus, as I have said, 
my Parliamentary career opened with the unique experi- 
ence of taking my sesat, making my maiden speech, and 
being expelled by force from the chamber on the same 

After the excitement of this first experience had died 
down John Redmond set himself to study his new 
duties at once, and with just the same ardour and sue 
cess as he had displayed in his school days and at 

He did not at once come forward as a speaker, how- 
ever, for his first duties were those of Whip. "J. 
Redmond," writes Mr. Justin McCarthy, "was a man 
admirably suited for such work. He had an excellent 
education. He had the polished manners of good society. 
He belonged to what I may call the 'country gentle- 
man ' order and could ride to hounds with a horseman- 
ship which must have won the hearts of the Tory squires 



from the hunting counties, and above all, he had an ex- 
cellent capacity and memory for all matters of arrange- 
ment and detail." And again, "It was a great part of 
Parnell's policy that there should be a powerful Home 
Rule organization extending over all parts of Great 
Britain, founding institutions in all the principal cities 
and towns and addressing audiences indoor and out on 
the subject of Ireland's demand for domestic self-govern- 
ment. John Redmond soon became one of the most 
effective organizers of the new movement, and one of 
the most powerful pleaders of the Cause on the public 

His own enthusiasm he communicated to the young 
men of the English and Scotch cities, and even to his 
colleagues. In these earlier days the Parnellite party 
did not number more than a dozen or so of members, 
and as it was not uncommon for some of them to 
deliver ten speeches of an evening, the young member 
was kept pretty busy, the duty of selecting and putting 
up the men devolving, of course, upon the Whip. 
But though an arduous post, it gave him a very 
thorough knowledge not only of the rules of the House, 
in which he was already well versed, but also of the 
moods of the House, which it usually takes a man years 
to discover. And gradually, as the success of the out- 
side organization began to bear fruit and the disciplined 
forces of the Irish members inside began to have 

33 3 


some effect, the young Whip found he had to shep- 
herd a party of some ninety odd members. But at first 
he was looked upon rather as a platform than as a 
Parliamentary orator ; and it was probably for this 
reason that Parnell singled him out later for the Aus- 
tralian and American tours. 

Nevertheless he was entrusted with very respon- 
sible work, especially when Parnell was in prison 
together with many of the other Irish members, including 
Mr. William Redmond, who by this time had joined 
the Nationalist forces. The Kilmainham treaty, by 
which Mr. Parnell was released, signified, as all admit, 
a moral victory for the Parnellites. It admitted the 
failure of Coercion, and Forster, its chief advocate, was 
dropped out of the Ministry. "The first indication of 
the coming resolves of the Government," writes T. P. 
O'Connor, in " The Parnell Movement," " was the reception 
given by Mr. Gladstone to the new Land Bill brought 
in by Mr. Redmond on behalf of the Irish party. " 
He had had every assistance from his chief, for the 
Bill was drafted inside the very walls of the prison. 

It proposed the remission of the arrears which blocked 
the way to the benefits conferred by the Land Act, 
but in such a just, moderate way that Gladstone 
practically promised to deal with the subject almost 
immediately. Then on May 6th, 1882, came the 
Phoenix Park murders — one of those great catastrophes 



which seem by some irony of fate to come just when 
a spirit of conciliation among Englishmen has given 
birth to a new era of hope in Ireland. There was a cry for 
Coercion, and Ministers felt that unless Coercion was 
dealt out with a liberal hand they could not hold office 
for twenty-four hours. 

To John Redmond it was no doubt a great blow, 
expectant as he must have been of the possibilities 
for good contained in his Bill ; but still greater must 
have been the shock when he heard himself being 
described as approving of the murders. 

" I was at Manchester " (to quote his own account) 
" on the night of the Phoenix Park murders, and 
about to address a meeting at the time, when an 
incomplete account of the affair was thrust into my 
hand as I was on my way to the building. I learned 
that Cavendish and Spencer had been killed. I went 
to the police station to make inquiries, but they 
would not tell me anything. I made a speech con- 
demning the murder of Cavendish, and saying that 
the Government were the real cause of the crime. 
Tke Times reported my speech with the comment that 
I said nothing about Burke. Parnell spoke to me on 
the subject. I told him I did not know that Burke 
had been killed when I made the speech. ' Then 
write to The Times and say so,' he replied. I wrote 
to The Times, but they did not publish the letter." 

35' 3* 


It appears, from further correspondence that ensued 
that The Times had not received it. At all events, 
that was the answer given. 

The next few years were, therefore, times of trial 
and suffering for Nationalists, not only in England and 
Ireland, but all over the world, and it became necessary 
to organize meetings everywhere to defend the party 
against the charge that they were morally responsible 
for the murders. From every platform they had been 
denounced. The Times had published a series of 
articles on Parnellism and Crime ; and nothing but 
a vigorous campaign could undo the havoc wrought 
by the Press in bringing the Nationalist cause into 
disrepute. It therefore became a question of choice 
of the speakers most suitable for the work, and chief 
among these was the young member for New Ross, 
who was singled out, not only for his already growing 
reputation as a speaker, but for his singular " modera- 
tion," to conduct a mission in Australia. Thomas 
Brennan, one of the most violent leaders of the Land 
League, and one who had denounced Parnell himself 
as "past," was refused point blank when he asked 
to be sent to Australia. The Australian mission is 
thus described by Michael Davitt : 

" In 1882 the organization had spread into most of 
the Australian Colonies, and it became necessary to send 
out some prominent leader whose representative posi- 



tion would appeal with greater effect to supporters and 
members of the Press. The late Rev. George W. Pepper, 
of Ohio, U.S.A., was recommended to Parnell by Ameri- 
can League leaders for the mission, but a better and a 
happier choice than that of the Ohio Irish American 
was made in the person of Mr. John E. Redmond. 
The member for New Ross had already made his 
mark in the House of Commons as an eloquent and 
able debater, and he was in every sense qualified to 
perform the work required. 

" He was joined later by his brother, Mr. W. H. K. 
Redmond. They were joined on their arrival by Mr. 
J. W. Walshe, and forthwith undertook an organizing 
tour which succeeded beyond anticipations. Mr. Red- 
mond's arrival coincided cruelly with the examination 
of the Invincibles who were implicated in the Phoenix 
Park murders. The evidence of the informer, Carey, 
hinting a complicity in these crimes of certain prominent 
Land Leaguers, was cabled to the Australian Press and 
created such anti-Irish feeling in the newspapers and 
among the general public that no public halls except 
those owned by Irish organizations could be obtained 
. for the meetings of the boycotted envoys. So rabid 
did the feeling become under the daily incitations of 
a bigoted press, that Mr. (afterwards Sir) Henry Parkes, 
one of the most prominent New South Wales politi- 
cians, actually proposed the expulsion of the Messrs. 



Redmond from the Colonies. Even hotels refused to 
give them accommodation. 

" Staunch men of his own race stood by Mr. Red- 
mond in Sydney and in other cities, and his own cour- 
age, tact, and admirable capacity enabled him to bear 
down all opposition. His was one of the most difficult 
of the many missions undertaken on behalf of the 
movement led by Parnell, and no man ever acquitted 
himself more creditably and more completely under the 
fire of a relentless, hostile Press and in the face of a 
violent public sentiment than the then comparatively 
young Irishman did in his Australian tour." 

This account coincides with Mr. Redmond's own, 
given in Mr. Barry O'Brien's life of Parnell. 

" When I arrived at Sydney the Phoenix Park murders 
were the talk of the Colony," he wrote. " I received 
a chilling reception. All the respectable people who 
had promised support kept away. The priests would 
not help me, except the Jesuits, who were friendly to 
me as an old Clongowes boy. A leading citizen who 
had promised to take the chair at my first meeting 
would not come. Sir Henry Parkes, the Prime Minis- 
ter, proposed that I should be expelled from the Colony, 
but the motion was defeated. 

"The Irish working men stood by me, and in fact 
saved the situation. They kept me going until a tele- 
gram arrived exculpating the Parliamentary party. 



Then all the Irish gradually came around and ultimately 
flocked to my meetings. I collected ;£■! 5,000, and 
went to America. Fenians did everything for us there. 
Without them we could have done nothing. I addressed 
a great meeting at the Opera House, Chicago. Boyle 
O'Reilly was in the chair. There were 10,000 people 
present. It was a grand sight. It was grand to see the 
Irish united as they were then. I was escorted to the 
meeting by the Governor and the Mayor,^ and the 
streets were lined with soldiers, who presented arms as 
we passed." 

His speeches on these tours, afterwards reprinted in 
his " Historical and Political Addresses," are certainly 
good examples of the defence of the Irish cause and very 
clear expositions of the Irish demands. One particularly, 
that delivered in Melbourne on the 13th June, 1883, as 
to whether the Land League was really responsible for 
crime, deserves notice ; and another at Adelaide on the 
objects of the Irish National League. In these he 
examined the charges one by one and refuted them, 
quoting from Mr. Parnell's manifesto the following 
words : — 

" We earnestly hope that the attitude and action of 
the Irish people will show to the world that an assassina- 
tion such as has startled us almost to the abandonment 
of hope of our country's future is deeply and religiously 
abhorrent to their every feeling and instinct ; " and again 



Mr. Parnell's own words: "The knife that killed Lord 
Frederick Cavendish came near killing with the same 
blow the Land League. We were at that time in a 
splendid position. We were in some sort arbitrators of 
the situation when, four days after our liberation, Lord 
Frederick Cavendish was assassinated. By that act 
nearly all the ground we had gained was lost." 

For nearly a year the two brothers stayed in Australia, 
and it was while in Sydney that they both met their 
future wives: Mr. John Redmond marrying, in 1883, 
Johanna Dalton, the daughter of Mr. Michael Dalton, 
and his brother marrying her cousin, the daughter of 
Mr. James Dalton, a prominent Sydney man. 

While they were in Australia the danger was to avoid 

being too disloyal : in America the danger was to avoid 

being too loyal ! But in spite of the garbled quotations 

from his American speeches which can be seen scattered 

through Mr. Chamberlain's denunciations of Home Rule, 

and which even now form matter for building up of 

such articles as " The two Mr. J. Redmonds," there is 

a wonderful consistency between the two sets of speeches. 

In both, while appealing to the loyalty of the Colonies 

and the nationalism of the United States, he avoids 

extremes and strikes the golden mean. He is neither 

a Unionist nor a Fenian, but simply a Parnellite ; and 

perhaps he never so clearly expressed that harmony 

which exists between the Federal aim and the National 



aspirations as he did in these American speeches. In 
some passages he seemed to gather the whole of Irish 
history and politics as it were into a nutshell. One in 
particular is worth quoting at length. 

"The principle embodied in the Irish movement of 
to-day," he said, " is just the same principle which was 
the soul of every Irish movement for the last seven 
hundred years — the principle of rebellion against the rule 
of strangers : the principle which Owen Roe O'Neill vindi- 
cated at Benburb : which animated Tone and Fitzgerald, 
and to which Emmet sacrificed a stainless life. Let no 
man desecrate that principle by giving it the ignoble 
name of hatred of England. Race hatred is at best an 
unreasoning passion. I for one believe in the brother- 
hood of nations, and bitter as the memory is of past 
wrongs and present injustice inflicted upon our people 
by our alien rulers, I assert the principle underlying 
our movement is not the principle of revenge for the 
past, but of justice for the future. When a question of 
that principle arises there can be no such thing as 
compromise. The Irish leader who would propose to 
compromise the national claims of Ireland, who would 
even incline for one second to accept as a settlement 
of our demand any concession short of the unquestioned 
recognition of that nationality which has come down to 
us sanctified by the blood and tears of centuries, would 
forfeit all claims upon your confidence or support. 



Such a contingency can never arise ; for the man who 
would be traitor enough to propose such a course 
would find himself no longer a leader. No man can 
barter away the honour of a nation. The one great 
principle of any settlement of the Irish question must 
be the recognition of the divine right of Irishmen, and 
Irishmen alone, to rule Ireland. This is the principle 
in support of which you are assembled to-day: this is 
the principle which guides our movement in Ireland. 
But consistently with that principle we believe it is 
possible to bring about a settlement honourable to 
England and Ireland alike, whereby the wrongs and 
miseries of the past may be forgotten, whereby the 
chapter of English wrongs and of Irish resistance may 
be closed, and whereby a future of freedom and of 
amity between the two nations may be inaugurated. 
Such a settlement we believe was offered to us by 
Mr. Gladstone." 

He was not sparing, it is true, in his attacks upon 
English rule, but neither did he allow himself to be 
carried away by meaningless vituperation or too signifi- 
cant vindictiveness. He stood where the Canadians stood 
in 1839, for the two principles of religious liberty and 
political independence. " If at the bidding of England 
Ireland had abandoned her religion," he told his hearers, 
" and consented to merge her nationality, she could have 

been to-day the sleekest of slaves, fattened by the 



bounty of our conquerors." The words were perhaps 
bitter ; but were they too strong, I wonder, bearing in 
mind the hundreds of thousands of martyrs to Irish 
freedom, the ages of stupid persecutions, three wholesale 
confiscations and centuries of penal legislation ? No 
student of history or patriotism can say so seriously. 
And no doubt some future historian, looking at the 
utterances of the Irish leader, and calling to mind the 
state of society to which they referred, will exclaim, 
like Hastings recollecting the heaps of gold in the Indian 
treasure houses, " I stand amazed at their moderation." 

In fact, one is very struck that so young a politician 
should have been so moderate in such a crisis ; but in 
almost every exposition of the Home Rule demand 
there is the same even-mindedness in pleading and 
the same clearness of conception in defining it. One 
speech in particular, delivered in Melbourne in July, 
1883 (the Hon. Francis Longmore being in the chair), 
is worthy of special mention. 

" What do I mean by Home Rule ? " he said. " I 
mean by Home Rule the restoration to Ireland of re- 
presentative government, and I define representative 
government to mean government in accordance with 
the constitutionally expressed will of the majority of 
the people, and carried out by a ministry constitu- 
tionally responsible to those whom they govern. In 
other words, I mean that the internal affairs of Ireland 



shall be regulated by an Irish Parliament — ^that all 
Imperial affairs and all that relates to the Colonies, 
foreign states and common interests of the Empire shall 
continue to be regulated by the Imperial Parliament as 
at present constituted. The idea at the bottom of this 
proposal is the desirability of finding some middle course 
between separation on the one hand and over-central- 
ization of government on the other. Those who propose 
this scheme consider it is undesirable that two countries 
so closely connected geographically and socially, and 
having so many commercial and international ties, should 
be wholly separated, or that any dismemberment of the 
Empire which Ireland had her share in building up 
should take place. But they are just as strongly of 
opinion that it is equally undesirable that one country 
should control the domestic affairs of another whose 
wants and aspirations it confessedly does not under- 
stand, whose various needs it admittedly has not time 
to attend to, and whose national life such a system 
of government tends to destroy." 

Almost immediately after his return from his mission, 
which had brought in some ;^3o,ooo to the cause, he 
finished keeping his terms at the King's Inns, in 
Dublin. He was called to the Irish Bar in the year of 
the first Home Rule Bill (1886), while a year later, having 
completed his qualifications for the English Bar, he 
was called as a member of Gray's Inn. 



The part he took in Gladstone's first Home Rule 
Bill was not such a prominent one as that which he 
took in the second. He attacked, as he always does, 
the principle rather than the details of the Bill, and 
showed that the very unity of England and Ireland, 
which had been the object of the Union, had never 
been attained. But for the most part he/ covered the 
same ground which he was to go over in his speeches 
on the second Home Rule Bill which were to make his 
reputation, and it is better to reserve till then any 
criticism of those forensic abilities which, had they been 
exercised in the pursuit of his profession, would long 
ago have placed him upon the judicial bench. 

The failure of a measure of so much promise as the 
Home Rule Bill of 1886 was attended with the usual 
and inevitable result of the abandonment of a conciliatory 
policy, and the people, exasperated by the misgovernment 
of centuries and the loss of all hope of redress, broke 
out into open agitation. All this belongs to history, not 
to biography. The only point of interest is the personal 
one that Mr. Redmond was singled out as one whose 
ardour was to be tested by a term of prison life. To 
the Irish members of those days it was like a soldier 
coming under fire ; none of them thought themselves 
worth their salt till they had been through it : and 
certainly Mr. Redmond looks back with the greatest 
sense of pride to the event. 



Accordingly, in the courthouse of Ferns various 
vague charges of intimidation were brought against him 
and Mr. Edward Walsh, the proprietor of the Wexford 
People. When they arrived at Ferns they received a 
great ovation. A crowd with a band was in readiness 
to escort them, and as soon as Mr. and Mrs. Redmond 
appeared they were conducted up the main street in 
triumph. They had not gone far, however, when they 
were met by a body of police drawn in single file across 
the road. The batons were drawn and the band was 
ordered to cease playing. They refused, and only Mr. 
Redmond's timely interference put a stop to what might 
have ended in a nasty scuffle ; but he could not suppress 
the enthusiasm of the crowd, who accompanied him 
wherever he went. 

The charge brought against him was that of intimi- 
dation. It was instituted on behalf of a landlord named 
Captain Walker. It was undefended; but it was not 
necessarily, therefore, admitted. The following extract 
from Redmond's speech in court may serve to illustrate 
the spirit in which the whole affair was viewed by the 

"I intend," it ran, "to call no witnesses for the de- 
fence. The facts of the case are practically undisputed. 
The shorthand writer's report appears to be a fairly 
accurate one. I made the speech in question and I 

stand by every word of it, and it is for you to say 



whether or not in that speech I have violated the law. 
I am accused here of using intimidation towards Captain 
Walker in my speech at Scarawalsh. I utterly repudiate 
and deny that accusation, and I maintain that no fair 
or honest interpretation of my words can support it. 
During the whole of my public career, extending over 
ten years of stormy political life, I have ever denounced 
violence and crime of any kind, and have sought by 
the action of public opinion alone to stay the hand of 
oppression and to protect the people in their homes. 
When speaking at Scarawalsh, I spoke with a grave 
sense of my responsibility, and I have no desire to-day 
to shirk or to shrink from the consequences of my 
words. If among these consequences should be a term 
of imprisonment for me, I shall bear it with a cheerful 
mind and the easy conscience of a man who knows that 
he has honestly fulfilled his duty. But if I am to be 
imprisoned let everyone clearly understand my offence. 
Let no one be deceived by the clap-trap of those who 
assert that my offence is an offence under the ordinary 
law. That is one of those half-truths which are worse 
than falsehoods. Intimidation is, of course, an offence 
under the ordinary law, but I could not be found guilty 
of it without the approval of a jury of my countrymen, 
indifferently chosen, and I venture to assert without fear 
of contradiction that on the evidence of my speech at 
Scarawalsh no jury in Ireland or in Great Britain could 



be found to convict me. No, I am not being tried 
under the ordinary law. I am being tried under an 
exceptional and oppressive Act of Parliament [the 
Coercion Act], which outrages the fundamental principles 
of the constitution and robs me of my primary right as 
the citizen of a free country — namely, my right of trial 
by a jury of my countrymen, indifferently chosen. I am 
being tried before a tribunal of deputies of the Execu- 
tive Government, who, though they combine the 
functions of judge and jury, are neither indifferently 
chosen as jurymen, nor independent of the executive 
as judges. Condemnation by such a tribunal will have 
no moral weight or authority behind it, and will be 
to me, not a reproach, but an honour. 

" Gentlemen, I have now finished. I invite you to 
proceed to deliver judgment. On my part, I can only 
say that I am quite prepared, if need be, to go to prison 
proudly in a cause in which far better men than I 
have in the past sacrificed liberty and life. In my 
case, the rigours of prison life will be sweetened by 
the consciousness that what I am being punished for - 
was done in the interest of my constituents and in 
the spirit and faithful discharge of my duty to them, 
and, above all, by the consciousness that I will bBng 
with me to my prison cell the confidence of the entire 
people of this country almost without exception, and the 

good will of the friends of Ireland throughout the world." 



He was sentenced to five weeks' imprisonment — 
without hard labour, but nevertheless as a common 
criminal ; not with those privileges which are usually 
extended to political prisoners nowadays. He 
accepted the sentence with the greatest pride and 
satisfaction, shook hands with all his friends, and left 
the court amidst such tremendous applause that only 
the threat of clearing the court altogether silenced his 
enthusiastic admirers. It was nevertheless no trivial 
matter for an educated man of refined tastes and habits 
to be compelled to don a suit of broad-arrow pattern ; 
to be deprived of pen, ink and paper and to be forced 
to sit for days and weeks on a plank bed reading the 
Bible ! In fact, as he afterwards often jokingly referred 
to it, the first time he read the Bible was in the copy 
presented to him by the late Queen Victoria — through 
the prison authorities. His health began to suffer, and 
he lost about a stone in weight during his imprisonment. 
He was also put upon a diet o£ bread and water for a 
while because he refused to walk round the ring in the 
exercise yard in company with all the rogues, vagabonds 
of the town who as soon as he appeared among them 
greeted him with cheers of welcome like a fellow criminal 
in distress ; and he was, therefore, removed to Tullamore. 

When Mr. Redmond returned to Westminster after 
serving his term of imprisonment, one of the first to 
meet him in the lobby and welcome him back was 

49 4 


Mr. A. J. Balfour, who was Chief Secretary for 
Ireland at the time. Soon afterwards Mr. Redmond 
was placed in the most difficult and trying situation 
of his political career by the result of the O'Shea 
divorce suit, in which Parnell was co-respondent. 
It must have been a great blow to the man who 
had preached Parnellism and loyalty to the chief 
over three continents to be faced with such a scandal ; 
but if he was one who must have felt it more keenly 
than anyone else, he was also one who would have 
preferred to cut off his right hand than turn traitor 
when that chief required his fidelity most. 



1890 — 1893 

TT was, politically speaking, the second Parnell crisis 
that made John Redmond. True, Parnell's whole 
life might be called one long crisis, and the Irish Leader 
looked on more as an institution than a personality, 
but at the same time he was the Nationalist movement 
personified. No sooner had the Phoenix Park tragedy 
been dissociated from his name (after having done more 
to wreck his cause than all the Unionist arguments 
could ever have accomplished) than Home Rule once 
more came to the front. But the political equilibrium 
had hardly been thus restored when it was once more 
disturbed and the whole of the Irish race, at home and 
abroad, were swept with a storm of dissension. It has 
been generally supposed that this was due to the 
divorce suit. It was nothing of the kind : it was due 
entirely to the action of the Irish Party in Committee 
Room 15. 

That the result of the divorce proceedings had affected 
the English mind no one for a moment can doubt, and 

51 4* 


that the proverbially illogical electorate would in con- 
sequence withdraw its support from Home Rule, at least 
temporarily, was equally certain. But in spite of all 
this the Irish members were at first determined to 
stick to Parnell. On the day following the announce- 
ment of the verdict, a meeting of some forty members 
was held in Dublin, with John Redmond in the chair, 
to pass a vote of confidence in the leader ; and this 
resolution was endorsed by a large public meeting some 
time later in the Leinster Hall. Ireland was shocked, 
but not demoralized. It was the Nonconformist 
agitation led by the Rev. Hugh Price - Hughes, 
together with Gladstone's letter practically ordering the 
deposition of the leader, that brought the crisis to a 
climax ; for the Nationalist advice to Parnell seems to 
have been contained in the three words " Retire : 
Marry : Return." 

Speaking some years later in America, Mr. Redmond 
explained the situation thus: "In November 1890, 
Ireland was united, her people at home and abroad 
were united, under the leadership of Mr. Parnell. 
Suddenly that union, on a particular hour of a particular 
day, was broken. Who broke it ? It has been said that 
it was broken by the lamentable proceedings in the 
Divorce Court in England. I say that statement is 
notoriously untrue. 

" During two whole weeks after these proceedings in 



the London Divorce Court, Ireland remained true while 
the proceedings of that court were discussed in public 
and private in every Irish circle, and at the end of that 
fortnight's discussion I assert here, as a matter of his- 
torical fact, that the whole Irish people at home, so far 
as they had spoken, had declared with one voice that 
in their opinion the continuance of Mr. Parnell's leader- 
ship was necessary for the welfare of Ireland. 

"The meetings in Ireland were attended by as many 
as forty clerics, conventions were unanimous, and the 
great Leinster Hall filled to overflowing with half the 
parliamentary forces. Suddenly, at the word of com- 
mand from the leader of another political party, Mr. 
Parnell was attacked by a number of his own followers 
then and there, and thus was the national unity broken. 
"Whoever else is responsible for breaking that unity, 
we, at any rate," he continued, speaking on behalf of the 
Parnellites, " who, when we told our leader and our friend 
that it was his duty to stand firm, meant what we said 
and afterwards stood by what we said — we, at any 
rate, can never in the pages of history be charged with 
the responsibility of having broken the national unity." 

The question was therefore one of expediency, and 
considering the movement was the man, it was very 
doubtful from the first whether the cause would eventually 
gain by throwing him over. The years of barren sessions 
that followed the split of the Irish Party are the best 



answers to such controversies, and the final reunion under 
the leader of the Parnellites is the best tribute, not 
to the loyalty of John Redmond, which no one ever 
doubted, but to his intellectual judgment of the situation. 

All, however, did not take the same view, and Justin 
McCarthy was the foremost of those who had tried to 
dissuade Parnell from issuing the daring manifesto pro- 
claiming the absolute independence of the Nationalists 
of all English parties. " It was a cruel stroke of fate," 
he wrote later in his " Story of an Irishman," " which 
compelled me to stand forth as the political opponent 
of Parnell, to whom, as a leader, I had been most 
sincerely devoted, and with whom I had had many 
years of intimate and steady friendship. I was also 
brought into direct hostility with men like John Red- 
mond and many others who had been colleagues and 
close friends of mine for a long time, and whose motives 
in this crisis of political disruption I thoroughly 
appreciated. I quite understood why these men were 
upholding Parnell. They believed him to be the best 
leader of the Irish people, and they could not see the 
rightfulness of withdrawing from his leadership because 
he had committed an offence against the laws of 
private morality." 

The trial of Parnell by his colleagues was worthy of 
Westminster Hall for dramatic importance. At all 
events it made a small Committee Room historical. 



The scene was tragic in the extreme : the points of 
issue tremendous. All the past history of Ireland for the 
last fifty years hung in the balance, and if the hands 
of the clock of politics can ever be set back, they were 
set back on that occasion. 

Morley, in his Life of Gladstone, thus describes it : 

" It was the fashion for the moment in fastidious 
reactionary quarters, to speak of the actors in this 
ordeal as a hustling group of yelling rowdies. Seldom 
have terms so censorious been more misplaced. All de- 
pends on the point of view. Men on a raft in a boiling sea 
have something to think of besides deportment and 
the graces of serenity. As a matter of fact, even hostile 
judges then and since agreed that no case was ever 
better opened within the walls of Westminster than in 
the three speeches made on the first day by Mr. Sexton 
and Mr. Healy on the one side and Mr. Redmond 
on the other. In gravity, dignity, acute perception and 
that good faith which is the soul of real as distinct 
from spurious debate, the Parliamentary critic recognizes 
them all of the first order." 

It was then for the first time th,at Mr. Redmond 
took his place among the foremost of the men in the 
party, and his devotion to the leader was second only 
to his devotion to the cause. 

" I am quite certain," writes Mr. Justin McCarthy, 
" that Parnell himself did not, until the great crisis came 



in the Irish Nationalist Party, fully appreciate the politi- 
cal capacity of John Redmond. Parnell always regarded 
him as both useful and ornamental — useful in managing 
the business of the party and ornamental as a brilliant 
speaker on a public platform. But he did not appear to 
know, and indeed had no means of knowing, that Red- 
mond had in himself the qualifications of a party leader 
and the debating power which could make him an in- 
fluence in the House of Commons, But when the great 
crisis came in the affairs of the party, then Redmond 
was soon able to prove himself made of stronger metal 
than even his leader had supposed. During all the de- 
bates in Committee Room 15, John Redmond took the 
leading part on the side of the minority. He became 
the foremost champion of Parnell's leadership. The 
position seemed to him in the nature of things. I well 
remember the ability and the eloquence which he dis- 
played in these debates and the telling manner in which 
he put his arguments and his appeals, and the course he 
took was all the more to his credit, because Parnell had 
never singled him out as an object of special favour, and, 
indeed, in the opinion of many of us, had not done full 
justice to his services in the House of Commons." 

The question of the leadership was a delicate one ; 
but it was far less a question of ethics than of practical 
politics. There was a principle involved which was 
quite impersonal, and it was this principle for which 


rrom a Fhoto'by .Maull <t" Fox. 


ITo face p. 56. 


Parnell stood, and it was this principle for which 
Redmond stood also. It was the absence of that 
principle which weakened almost to death the Irish 
Party during the split, and it was that principle which 
actuated the later Parnellites and eventually brought 
about reunion of the Anti-Parnellites under the leader 
of that minority. 

That principle is contained in one paragraph of the 
famous Parnell manifesto, and is significant as the 
guiding principle in Irish politics of to-day : 

" Sixteen years ago," it ran, " I conceived the idea 
of an Irish Parliamentary party independent of all 
English parties. Ten years ago I was elected the leader 
of an independent Irish Parliamentary party. During 
these ten years that party has remained independent, 
and because of its independence it has forced upon 
the English people the necessity of granting Home 
Rule to Ireland. I believe that party will obtain Home 
Rule only provided it remains independent of any 
English party." 

It was, of course, a matter of speculation how far 
the election of Parnell, or rather his retention, would 
endanger Home Rule. He did not himself anticipate it 
would have any ill effects on the movement ; but what 
he felt most was the violated independence of the 
party in submitting to English dictation. John Red- 
mond took up exactly the same stand, as is shown by 



his speeches. He admitted that the retention of Parnell 
as leader might influence the vote of the British elec- 
torate, but denied that it would alter the eventual 
result, and, as Morley notes, that the split which would 
ensue would be far more serious in its effects on public 
opinion both in England and Ireland. Even going 
further and admitting Parnell's guilt, it was a question 
whether the prospects offered were worth the sacrifice. 
And if it be admitted that the sacrifice was obligatory 
upon the Irish party, it must likewise have been 
obligatory upon our ancestors in the case of some of 
the heroes of the past. Yet who would have thought of 
deposing Napoleon on the eve of Waterloo, or Nelson 
on the very day of Trafalgar? 

John Redmond's speech in Committee Room 15 
struck the keynote of the situation. It was calm, 
short, and to the point, as the following extract will 
show : 

"When it becomes a question of selling our leader, 
to buy an alliance," he began, "it would be well to see 
what we were getting for the price. First, it seems to 
me, that in selling our leader in order to preserve the 
Liberal alliance, we are selling absolutely and irrevocably 
the independence of the Irish party. This party has 
been powerful only because it has been independent ; 
every Irish party that ever existed in this House fell in 
the same way — if we sacrifice Parnell to preserve this 



alliance the days in our generation of the independence 
of the Irish party are at an end. Mr. Gladstone would 
be absolutely unfettered, and he would have the Irish 
party, so to speak, in the hollow of his hand, and it 
would be a discredited and powerless tool of the Liberal 
party. As to your retention being a danger to the 
Irish cause, and the Home Rule cause, I do not believe 
that it is a real danger, and these are reasons why I 
do not believe my friend Mr. Sexton's argument is a 
sound one when he says, that this matter is urgent 
because this alliance would be broken up if you were 
maintained. I will say nothing about my motive in 
this matter. I disdain to do so. My public record, 
without any boasting, I should say entitles me to 
entertain the belief that whatever course I take the 
more people will believe that I am actuated by the 
highest motives of patriotism. 

" It is true I have a feeling of personal loyalty to 
you," he went on, turning to Parnell. " I have said 
elsewhere, and I say here, that you have been my friend, 
and I think it is no time in which a man who has been 
once your friend should turn against you. But I most 
solemnly say that while you remain my friend, and my 
personal attachment is the same to you as it always 
was, I declare most solemnly that in this consideration 
I am not allowing my personal attachment to you to 
weigh in the balance. I would sacrifice my liberty I 



would sacrifice my life, I would sacrifice the liberty and 
life of the truest and best friend I have in the world, 
for the sake of the independence of my country. It is 
not a personal motive that animates me ; it is because 
I believe that your maintenance is necessary to the success 
of our cause." 

Mr. Gladstone's action was, therefore, the immediate 
origin of the crisis. But what made the situation still 
more acute for the Nationalists, was the fact that no 
one knew what Gladstone's real intentions were, so that 
they might be going to sell their leader, as many like 
Redmond thought, for what might eventually prove a 
sham Home Rule Bill which would be nothing more 
than an insult to Nationalist aspirations. 

On December 3rd they tried to obtain an assurance 
of the intentions of the Liberal party on the subject 
of Home Rule, which if satisfactory might have induced 
Parnell to retire, and at a meeting afterwards Healy 
and Sexton expressed promises of conditional future 
loyalty. But as Barry O'Brien observes : " The Liberals 
simply regarded the Anti-Parnellites as a lot of simple- 
tons to allow themselves to be out-manoeuvred by this 
clever device, and as the Anti-Parnellites sank lower 
and lower in the Liberal opinion after this incident of 
the struggle, the genius of the chief shone brighter than 
ever, even in the eyes of his foes." 

It was agreed, therefore, that a deputation of the 



Irish party, consisting of Mr. Leamy, Mr. Sexton, Mr. 
Healy and Mr. Redmond, should seek an interview with 
Mr. Gladstone to ask his intentions, and report the 
result to their colleagues in Room 15. 

" I was one of those who went on that deputation to 
Mr. Gladstone," said Mr. Redmond years later. " I sat 
for a considerable time in his study. Mr. Sexton and 
myself both put before Mr. Gladstone the situation as to 
Ireland with all the force and earnestness at our disposal. 
We told him that if Mr. Parnell's recollection of the 
Hawarden interview was wrong, as he, Mr. Gladstone, said, 
then he, Mr. Gladstone, was bound for the sake of Ireland 
to clear up the difference of recollection by stating what 
really occurred. We pointed out to him that our country 
at that moment was standing on the brink of an abyss, 
and that unless some way out of the difficulty was 
found, we had before us in Ireland a future of disunion, 
of internal discord, and that the Liberal party had 
before them in England a future of danger and difficulty, 
and we exhausted all the words of persuasion, and, I 
might say for myself, of absolute entreaty, in our 
endeavour to get him to say one word, he knowing 
full well that if that word were satisfactory the Irish 
crisis would have ended. But all our efforts failed. 
Mr. Gladstone, for what reason I know not, unless it 
be that Mr. Parnell's story of the Hawarden interview 

was true, remained absolutely silent." 



All they could get out of Gladstone was simply: 
" The question you have to decide is the leadership of 
the Irish party. I am not going to have that question 
mixed up with Home Rule ; one question at a time. 
I hold the views on Home Rule which I always held, 
and when the time comes for introducing a new Home 
Rule Bill you shall know all about it. Meanwhile rest 
assured that I shall introduce no Home Rule Bill 
which has not the unanimous approval of the Irish 

"It was an interesting game of tactics between the 
' Grand Old Man,' " as Barry O'Brien goes on to 
observe, " and the grand young men, but the former 
won." The report of the delegates was, in effect, that 
Mr. Gladstone would not enter into negotiations with 
the party while Parnell still remained leader. A 
stormy debate followed, in Room 15, and at last 
Mr. McCarthy rose, saying it was idle to continue pro- 
ceedings longer. 

Forty-four followed him out of the room, twenty-six 
remained. Gladstone had split the party. 

Parnell felt the desertion keenly. "Why did you 

encourage me to come forward and maintain my 

leadership in the face of the world if you were not 

prepared to stand by me ? " he asked. At the same time 

he felt the loyalty ef his faithful followers with all the 

gratitude which a man in sorrow feels for real devotion. 



And to none was he more grateful than to John 
Redmond, who was constantly at his side in the 
struggle that ensued, and upon whose shoulders his 
mantle of leadership was destined to fall after his death. 

The Boulogne negotiations were the last attempt to 
reunite the forces amicably. They lasted for about a 
month. The name " Seceders," which Mr. Parnell had 
fastened upon the majority, was not unmerited. Their 
representatives admitted as much in the terms of 
capitulation which they offered. These were nothing 
short of absolute submission. Mr. Justin McCarthy's 
election as their leader was to be first of all declared 
invalid, and then both Gladstone and the Irish Roman 
Catholic bishops were to be prevailed upon to withdraw 
their public condemnation of Parnell, while Parnell him- 
self was to be retained in the presidency of the 
National League. 

William O'Brien had just returned from America, 
hence Parnell was anxious to have an opportunity of 
seeing him. An arrangement was come to, and Parnell 
accompanied by the two Redmonds, J. J. Clanchy, 
Henry Campbell and Vincent Scully, crossed over to 
meet him at Boulogne. 

There were many accounts published in the press, 
Mr. Redmond's, quoted by Mr. Barry O'Brien, being as 
follows : 

" When we arrived we went to an hotel. O'Brien rushed 



up gushingly to meet Parnell, who was extremely reserved 
and cold. He saluted O'Brien just as if he had seen 
him yesterday and as if there were nothing special 
going forward. O'Brien plunged into business at 

" ' Oh, no, William,' said Parnell, ' I must have 
something to eat first.' Then he ordered luncheon and 
we all sat down and ate. When luncheon was over 
Parnell said : ' Now, William, we will talk.' We then 
adjourned to another room. Parnell still remained 
silent, reserved, cold, and did not in any way encourage 
O'Brien to talk. He looked around at the rest of us 
as much as to say, ' Well, what the devil do you 
want ? ' The rest of us soon withdrew, leaving Parnell 
and O'Brien together. After some time O'Brien re- 
joined us. He looked utterly flabbergasted, said it was 
all over, and that Parnell had no intention of doing 
anything. I asked him if he had made any proposals 
to Parnell, or if he had any proposals to make. He 
said that he had proposals, but did not submit them to 
Parnell, as Parnell seemed so unwilling to talk. He 
then stated the proposals to me, which were substan- 
tially, so far as I can now remember, these : — 

" I. The retraction of the bishops' manifesto. 

" 2. Some acknowledgment from Mr. Gladstone that 
the publication of his letter was precipitate 
and inadvisable. 



" 3. A meeting of the whole party in Dublin, with 
Parnell in the chair, and acknowledgment of 
the informality of Mr. McCarthy's election as 
"4. Voluntary resignation of Parnell, who should, 
however, remain President of the National 
" 5. Election of a temporary chairman. 
"6. Appointment of Dillon as chairman. 
" I went immediately to Parnell and told him of 
these proposals. 'Ah, now we have something specific 
to go upon. Let O'Brien come back.' 

" O'Brien came back and these points were discussed. 
Parnell said at once that he would not accept the 
chairmanship of Dillon, but he would with pleasure 
accept the chairmanship of O'Brien. O'Brien and I 
then went out and wired to Dillon, saying that Parnell 
had proposed that O'Brien should be leader of the 
party. Dillon wired back warning O'Brien to beware 
of Parnell, and not to trust him. Such, at least, is 
my recollection of the substance of the telegram. 
Next day Parnell returned to London, and I went to 
Paris with O'Brien, where I remained for some eight 
or ten days. Nothing so far was settled." 

Another interview with Parnell took place, which 
Mr. Redmond thus described : " I saw him alone first, 
and we had a short private talk about O'Brien's new 

65 5 


plan. He said nothing, but looked at me with an 
amused, and an amusing smile. I could not help 
feeling what a pair of children O'Brien and I were in 
the hands of this man. The meaning of the smile 
was as plain as words. It meant : ' Well, really, you 
are excellent fellows, right good fellows, but 'pon my 

soul, a d d pair of fools ; sending William O'Brien 

to Hawarden to negotiate with Mr. Gladstone ! 
Delightful.' Well, he simply smiled William O'Brien's 
plan out of existence, and stuck to his original pro- 
posal. Next day he went back to London and I went 
with him." 

From that moment the whole affair of the leadership 
and the policy of the party became the centre of a 
political free fight in Ireland. The champion of Irish 
rights, Mr. Gladstone became " the grand old spider " ; 
the Anti-Parnellites — " the miserable gutter-sparrows, and 
kept slaves of an English political party," and every 
tavern, drawing-room and presbytery in Ireland emulated 
the scenes that had taken place in Committee Room 15. 

After the failure of the Boulogne negotiations, Parnell 

determined to fight, and John Redmond determined to 

throw in his lot with his leader. " It was observable, 

however, that among Mr. Parnell's assailants," writes 

The Annual Register for 1901, "the most venomous was 

Mr. T. Healy, whose attacks were rather personal than 

political, and who violated all the canons of good taste 



by indecorous and ill-natured allusions to Mrs. O'Shea. 
Another phrase which has never died was Mr. Healy's 
declaration that he would "drive Parnell into the grave 
or a lunatic asylum," while at a meeting of the 
National Federation (May 20th) he said that "if anyone 
attempted to patch up the present differences by a 
compromise on the basis of the continued leadership he 
would be simply hunted out of the country with a 
kettle tied to his tail." 

Parnell himself made an able defence. He fully 
granted the moral right of the bishops to interfere in 
cases where the question of morality arose, but he 
maintained that both by acts of commission and 
omission they had publicly forfeited that right in the 
sense that they had declared it purely a political issue. 
A few days after the verdict of the Divorce Court, 
the Bishop of Meath told Mr. Healy that Parnell's 
political leadership should be retained, and the Arch- 
bishop of Dublin wrote, before he had seen Gladstone's 
letter, saying he urged Parnell's retirement not on 
grounds of morality, but for purely political reasons. 
And considering that the origin of the quarrel was due 
to Church interference, there is some irony in one of 
Archbishop Walsh's letters to the National Press, in 
which he says : " I am deeply convinced that the con- 
tinuance of this ruinous conflict, even for a little longer, 

must be absolutely destructive of every hope of the 

67 5* 


establishment of Home Rule in Ireland, at all events 
in the present century. To me it is one of the most 
obvious truths of the present deplorable situation that 
the fitness of our people for Home Rule, and indeed for 
Constitutional Government of any kind, is questionable, 
and that so far the evidence of that fitness is somewhat 
less clear than it ought to be." 

It was all the more ironical considering that when 
Mr. Parnell made what in Protestant England was 
understood as moral amends by marrying Mrs. O'Shea, 
a general meeting of the bishops at Maynooth still 
continued the embroglio between morality and politics 
by recording " the solemn expression of our judgment as 
pastors of the Irish people, that Mr. Parnell by his 
public misconduct has utterly disqualified himself to be 
the political leader .... has supplied new and 
convincing proof that he is wholly unworthy of the 
confidence of Catholics, and we therefore feel bound on 
this occasion to call upon our people to repudiate his 
leadership ..." 

In the end all principles were thrown to the winds 
and the contest became one purely between the Church 
and Parnell. The Freeman's Journal, the leading 
Nationalist daily newspaper in Ireland, for a long time 
supported the laymen and came into collision with the 
Archbishop of Dublin, who branded it as being not un- 
worthy of the traditions of the Atheistic Freemasonry 



of the Continent. "The men who dwell with prurient 
persistency on the Divorce Court," it retorted, "are the 
very men who scoffed at it or passed it over in the 
beginning. These men out of their own mouths are 
bound to regard the issue in question as a purely 
political issue." But however just this attitude was in 
theory, in practice it threatened to become ruinous to 
the newspaper. An excuse for a change of tone was 
found in the marriage of Mr. Parnell and Mrs. O'Shea ; 
but it was generally understood that the real cause of 
the volte-face was that the commercial got the better 
of the editorial department, for a financial panic set 
in among the shareholders of the Freemaiis Journal, 
and with one bound that vigorous organ landed in the 
camp of the seceders. 

One of the last significant acts of Parnell was his 
going down to Kilkenny, where all the priests were 
ranged against him, with the intention of expressing a 
desire once and for all to put an end to the interference 
of the priest in politics. 

Mr. Barry O'Brien, who tells the incident, protested 
against this course. 

" You are drawing your sword on the whole Order," 
he said, " instead of objecting to the action of the indi- 
vidual priest ; O'Connell could afford to do this, you 
can't. If the priests have to be fought, they must be 
fought by Catholics, not by Protestants." 



"Ah, now," replied Parnell, "you have said some- 
thing which is quite true. A Protestant leader must 
not do this. But the system must be stopped, and 
you Catholics must stop it. The priests themselves 
must be got to see it is wrong." 

The words well fitted the occasion ; and they became 
the watchword of his party. But how far the struggle 
would have ended eventually in the victory of the lay- 
man when once his potent personality had survived 
the first shock of opposition, no one now can tell. Nor 
can any one say whether a defeat would have meant 
merely a postponement of the struggle and the awaiting 
of another leader. Perhaps that strong Nationalism, 
blended with a supreme respect for religion, which was 
later to characterize the leadership of Mr. John Red- 
mond, may, after all, prove the best solution to such a 

Suddenly, like a bolt from the blue, or rather like 

that cry of despair which arose at Hastings when 

Harold was found pierced with an arrow, came the 

terrible news of Parnell's death at Brighton. At once 

John Redmond hurried to the spot, and though he 

arrived before the remains were coffined, he was not 

one of those very few who actually saw the dead leader. 

He took charge on behalf of the family and the party 

of all the preparations for a public funeral, and brought 

the body to Dublin, where it was solemnly interred in 



Glasnevin Cemetery, close to the grave of O'Connell. 
A concourse of people from all parts of Ireland such 
as had never been seen in Dublin since the funeral of 
the great liberator formed a procession which followed 
the coffin of Parnell to the cemetery. All the European 
Press, from Moscow to Rome, was stirred. In New 
York all the flags were flown at half-mast. The feeling 
in Dublin was that he had been "done to death" by 
the Anti-Parnellites, not a single official member of 
whom ventured to be present at Glasnevin Cemetery ; 
while the former utterances of the Archbishop of 
Dublin, wired to New York, only fanned the flame of 
hatred. " Archbishop Walsh's utterances," said one 
public speaker there, " are unpatriotic, unchristianlike 
and shocking. There can never be union between the 
two factions until the priests in Ireland are driven from 
the platform back to their pulpits." 

But the matter of supreme importance was the 
position to be taken up by those who, like John 
Redmond, had made the retention of Parnell not so 
much a personal question as the protestation of political 
principles. Had the whole quarrel been one of loyalty 
to a chief, he could have at once joined the followers 
of Mr. Justin McCarthy. Had it been a question of 
pure vindictiveness he might have refused to join hands 
with " the murderers " — to use the phrase which used 
to be hurled at John Dillon in the Dublin streets. He 



preferred to adhere to the policy which he believed 
was at issue, and in this he has carried out to the 
letter what I may call Parnell's political will. It is to 
be found in the manifesto issued shortly after the funeral 
by the followers of the chief. 

" On the threshold of the tomb, the leader whom we 
mourn, defined our duty in these memorable words : ' If 
I were dead and gone to-morrow, the men who are 
fighting English influence in Irish public life would fight 
on still. They would still be independent Nationalists, 
they would still believe in the future of Ireland as a 
nation : and they would still protest that- it was not 
by taking orders from an English member that Ireland's 
future could be saved, protected or secured.' Fellow- 
countrymen, let it be the glory of our race at home 
and abroad to act up to the spirit of this message. 
God save Ireland." 



" IV TY heart bleeds for the poor fellows," said Glad- 
stone once after receiving one of the deputations 
from the perplexed Nationalist party during the pro- 
ceedings in Room 15. If Gladstone's heart bled during 
Parnell's life, it must have done so ten times more after 
his death, which added the bitterness of a great tragedy 
to the political quarrel. At first there were many who, 
like Justin McCarthy, thought that the difference 
having been a personal one, it would die with the 
person. But it was not a personal matter, it was a 
principle personified, as soon became evident both from 
the tone and the action of the Independents, as the 
little band of Parnellites were now called. 

Their leadership fell almost naturally to the one 
man who had so championed Parnell's cause, and who, 
by acting as chief mourner, and undertaking all the 
public arrangements for the funeral of the dead chief, 
had already been singled out for that position by public 
opinion. Mr. Redmond was officially elected, however, 



a few days later, and from that day till the eventful 
reunion of the two sections of the Nationalist party 
ten years later, led what then was thought the losing 
cause. The most uncompromising hostility at once 
declared itself between the two sections. The death 
of Parnell had been too tragic for his followers to 
step over his grave and shake hands with his 
" murderers " — as the followers of John Dillon were 
still called. It was wild rant, perhaps, that dictated 
the fierce epithets hurled broadcast at everyone, as 
T. D. Sullivan observes, but it indicated the Parnellite 
temper, announced the Parnellite decision. In that de- 
cision there were hardly two more prominent men than 
the two brothers Redmond ; and Mr. William Redmond's 
article in United Ireland struck the keynote of the 
extreme Parnellite sentiment. 

" Hearts are beating," he wrote, " and eyes are glisten- 
ing with a secret gladness in every part of the world to- 
day where the blood-red flag of England floats. The 
greatest friend of Irish liberty, the greatest enemy of 
British tyranny, the one man hated and feared before 
all other men by the oppressors of Ireland, is killed by 
the foulest slander, hunted to death, that the virtue of 
Ireland might be vindicated to the satisfaction of the 
Pharisees and hypocrites of holy England. The Non- 
conformist conscience is now at ease ; the scandalmongers 
and canters of Great Britain are satisfied. The English 



eader who struck the first blow may now be content 
— his great rival is now no more. The Christians who, 
contrary to the Divine teaching of their Master, merci- 
lessly persecuted the chief may now rest from their 
labours : the chief is dead — all is, no doubt, well. The 
virtue of Ireland having been vindicated, the orders of 
our English masters having been carried out, the noblest, 
bravest and truest of Irishmen having been driven 
broken-hearted to the grave, Ireland will now receive 
at the gracious hands of England some measure of 

" Perhaps, indeed, we may be ordered to forget the 
very name of him to whose matchless labours any liberty 
we receive will be due. They ordered us to drive him 
forth ; they may order us to forget him now that he is 
dead. Liberty is now, we are assured, at hand. Yes, 
but by the memory of the dead we never, never, netver 
will forget the price our masters exacted for it. Millions 
alive to-day, and millions and millions yet unborn, will 
remember that before England removed one finger of 
her blood-stained hand from Ireland's throat she ordered 
us to break the heart of our best and truest chief. 
Charles Stewart Parnell is dead. But his spirit marches 
on, and to-day over his freshly turned grave we renew 
our allegiance to the cause of Irish National Inde- 
pendence. Another item has been added to the account 
which Ireland has to settle. Some day — it may be soon, 



it may be late ; it may be in our time, or it may be 
when we, too, are in our graves — but some day, as surely 
as the sun sets over our heart-broken land to-night, 
that account will be settled and Ireland will pay the 
debt so long due." 

John Redmond — "that cold-blooded young gentleman," 
as Mr. William O'Brien once called him — was perhaps 
less emotional, though not less sincere than his brother, 
for he thought throughout of " Parnellism " as a 
principle of action rather than as devotion to a person- 
ality. Speaking in Clare a short while later, where 
he had been introduced as Parnell's successor, he 
emphatically told his audience that they were wrong in 
speaking of him in any sense as " the leader of the 
Parnellites." There had never been and never would 
be, as far as his voice went, any attempt to fill the 
place rendered vacant by Parnell's death. He believed 
the man had yet to be born who would be capable 
of wearing the mantle of the late chief. Parnell was 
still their leader and they were determined to fight for 
his principles ; but they were fighting singly, and as 
soldiers in the ranks. 

Redmond's first action was to put up for Parnell's 
old constituency, rebel Cork, upon which the whole of 
political interest was for the time centred, and the 
greatest excitement prevailed. But the result proved 
somewhat disheartening. Alderman Flavin, the nominee 



of the Anti-Parnellites, was returned with a majority of 
over 1,500 votes. The cry of "clerical interference" was 
raised and not without some ground, as, according to 
Mr. Davitt, one iniluential priest spiritually terrorized 
the political consciences of the citizens of Cork, and 
had even gone so far as to declare that promises made 
to John Redmond were not morally binding. But it 
was generally thought that the fact that Redmond in 
a sense represented the spirit of faction had also some- 
thing to do with his defeat. 

The retirement from parliamentary life was, however, 
only temporary. He put up for Waterford City a few 
weeks later, Michael Davitt opposing him. Both parties 
were heated, and in a meUe Davitt was cut across the 
temple by one of the " Redmondites " while he was 
walking in the street John Redmond, of course, made 
the amende honorable and denounced the action of 
his followers, but it raised no little ill-feeling. Davitt 
declared after the contest, in which he was beaten by 
500 votes, that he owed his defeat to Terrorism and 
Toryism, for all the Tories, it appears, had voted for 
his opponent. 

The Waterford election was looked upon rather as a 
triumph for the Parnellites, who felt that, though weak 
before Parnell's death, their party would have to face 
fearful odds afterwards. For they knew, as John Red- 
mond had himself said, that it was to a certain extent 



a forlorn hope they were leading, and they were quite 
conscious that their action would mean calumny in 
public life, ostracism from social life, political defeat 
at the polls, perhaps complete extinction. But for 
this very reason, he maintained, men who took up a 
cause with odds like these against them, showed they 
were men who believed in their cause and were in 
earnest ; and as men who believed in those principles 
and who were sincere in the cause they had taken up, 
he declared no number of defeats would drive them 
a single inch from the position which they believed 
was the position of honour, of dignity and of safety to 
the national cause. 

What that position was Redmond explained a few 
days later when, at a meeting of the National League 
in Dublin, he declared the policy of the Parnellites 
more in detail. He stood out, he said, for absolute 
independence and denounced what he called the anti- 
Parnellite spirit of " devolution " — though he did not 
use the word. Mr. Gladstone would in all probability 
endeavour to conciliate British opposition by conces- 
sions to it in order to get the Bill passed. Mr. Davitt 
had declared he would accept anything, however 
small. John Redmond thought the right policy was to 
strengthen Gladstone's resolution and not to allow him 
to whittle away his Bill till it pleased the Lords. He 

believed the English public looked upon Home Rule as 



an expedient, but that expedient should be a full not a 
half measure. There was no question of separation, but 
only of a parliament of their own, supreme in Irish 
affairs and subject only to the veto of the Crown. 
The position was logical, for an unconditional promise 
to accept anything from Gladstone would not only 
throw away a golden opportunity, but might lead to 
the establishment of a system which would prove a 
disaster to the cause instead of its salvation. 

Upon his return to Parliament the new leader at 
once declared his policy, repeating Parnell's latest de- 
clarations on the '' minimum " and calling on the Glad- 
stonians to define their proposals. The speech was 
spirited, and, in fact, one of the finest in the debate ; 
but it produced no little friction between him and 
those who followed the new anti-Parnellite principle of 
accepting anything a Liberal alliance might bring. His 
motion was only defeated by 179 votes to 158. 

On the eve of the General Election in June, 1892, 
the new Parnellite leader went over to New York to 
give an account of the cause the Irish-Americans had 
so much at heart and to plead for financial support. 
It was a delicate mission and not without a certain 
touch of pathos that the young leader should present 
himself as " all that was left of them " — of that gallant 
brigade whom the Irish in the United States had en- 
couraged with their enthusiasm and their wealth in 



order to help the chief to fight the battle of Ireland. 
Accordingly, in a large assembly gathered together in 
the New York Academy of Music, with Judge Lynn in 
the chair, Redmond told them the story of the great 
disaster. He was the right man in the right place : 
for the Irish-Americans were for the most part 
Parnellites to a man and they welcomed the champion 
of the great leader's cause. Mr. Thomas A. Emmet, 
President of the Irish Confederation, for example, had 
only voiced the sentiments of most Irish-Americans when, 
shortly after the chief's death, he had said, " It would 
be absurd to expect that the mere fact of the death of 
Mr. Parnell will bring the two factions together; the 
Parnellites are more bitter than ever against the men 
who, had they been content to leave him and his work 
in peace, instead of worrying him into his grave, might, 
they think, still have had the benefit of his leadership. 
I do not know what will be the outcome of all this ; 
but the Parnellites, at least in America, will never accept 
the McCarthyites as leaders. Now less than ever." 

In his speech Mr. Redmond referred to two points — 
the first was an apology for the " Parnellite tactics," the 
second an apology for the " Parnellite demand." 

In the first portion he was careful to show clearly, as 

we have already seen, that the unity of the party had 

been broken up, not by the O'Shea divorce proceedings, 

but by the members of the party, and those members 



had not been himself and his colleagues, who, when they 
told Parnell, their leader and their friend, that it was 
their duty to stand firm, meant what they said and 
afterwards stood by what they said. He then proceeded 
to show how he had tried himself to reunite the party 
upon the broad platform of amnesty and had been met 
by the answer which he read to the meeting from 
Mr. Dillon. " Though I am strongly in favour of 
amnesty, I cannot be present at your meetings, because 
I cannot consent to stand upon the same parliamentary 
platform with the parliamentary supporters of Mr. John 
Redmond, who, in my deliberate judgment, are the 
most dangerous enemies of the Irish cause." 

Mr. T. P. O'Connor had suggested another policy of 
conciliation, which was to distribute the Nationalist seats 
at the General Election according to the proportion of 
gains previously made by the rival parties. This 
would have enabled the Parnellites to avoid any un- 
seemly faction fights in the constituencies, return to 
Parliament in a friendly spirit, and accept or reject any 
proposal of the Liberals. It had been practically 
accepted by the Anti-Parnellite party, seven out of nine 
of the Committee having given their assent. But it 
was abandoned, as Mr. O'Brien observed, entirely owing 
to the opposition of Mr. Healy, and a rather dramatic 
touch was given to the meeting addressed by Mr. 

Redmond in New York, by the arrival of a cable from 

8i 6 


Dublin which confirmed the leader's words. It ran : 
"Dublin, June isth. Every proposal of ours for peace 
has been rejected, and the Whigs are now determined 
to expel from public life every man who stood by 

How far persons are responsible for practical dead- 
locks in political principles : how far Mr. Healy may 
have been justified in allowing the country to decide: 
how far the arrangement proposed by Mr. T. P. 
O'Connor would have avoided one of the most squalid 
faction fights between priests and people, which took 
place at the General Election, is difficult to say ; but 
the facts of the situation remained, and from an argu- 
mentative point of view the Parnellite position was 
tolerably well established. It was rather for the man 
who had deserted Parnell to explain his position or else 
explain the words which had done more than any- 
thing to strengthen the chiefs resolve to fight for his 
leadership. " If the Irish people for whom he has done 
so much, for whom he has braved so much, suiifered 
so much," said Mr. Healy before the appearance of the 
Gladstone letter, " if they were so frivolous and light- 
hearted as to permit themselves at the first sound of 
this wretched and unfortunate case to be dragged away 
from the support they have hitherto accorded Mr. 
Parnell, all I can say is that this Irish nation would 

be my nation no more." 



The second portion of Mr. Redmond's speech at 
New York dealt with the Parnellite demand and is 
very significant, in that it contains the key to that 
difference of opinion which was later to distinguish 
the two Nationalist parties in the House of Commons. 
" I believe if we accepted a parliament which was 
bound hand and foot by restrictions, a parliament which 
would not have the power of ruling our country in 
purely Irish affairs, free from this meddlesome and 
ignorant interference of English politicians, that parlia- 
ment would be a failure. I believe it would be taken 
from us again, and therefore I say I believe it would be 
the height of unwisdom for Ireland to accept as a full 
settlement of her claims anything less than a full, 
honest and free parliament — though, of course, subject 
to a constitutional veto." 

Then by way of a final declaration of the future 

tactics of the Parnellite party, he said, " I have been for 

eleven years in the English Parliament ; when I went in 

there I joined a party of about a score of men. We 

had the open hostility of every English party — Whigs, 

Tories, Radicals, Conservatives, who, differing on every 

point of policy, were always ready to unite against us ; 

but if they were ready to unite against us, we put our 

backs to the wall, and we fought each of them in turn, 

and in the end we drove from power by our votes, first 

the Tory party, then the Liberal party — we did it by 

83 6* 


independence. Our power was not in our numbers — 
twenty against six hundred. It lay in our absolute 
disregard of any interests save the interests of Ireland ; 
it lay in the fact that the English parties never knew 
upon what side we would vote. We were independents, 
and our votes always hung in the balance ; and I say 
that our power as twenty men was greater far than 
would be the power of eighty-six united Nationalists 
who were prepared on the purely Irish question of the 
Irish leadership to obey the orders of an English 

But far more important than either domestic squab- 
bles or the American mission was the plea which 
Mr. Redmond continually put forward, both during 
Parnell's life and since his death, for an explicit pro- 
nouncement from Gladstone. An opportunity offered 
itself in an article he wrote in the October number 
of the Nineteenth Century. In it he explained how he 
had been attacked both by his former colleagues and 
by the Liberals as merely trying to embarrass Glad- 
stone. It was as if a common soldier wished to see 
a general's plans, said Davitt. He admitted that the 
Liberals had a perfect right to withhold the informa- 
tion, but he maintained that if they did this it 
would in no way advance the Home Rule question. 
It had been withheld before the elections, it was 
withheld still. They were to be offered a cut-and-dried 



scheme to be accepted or rejected, and in such a 
way the Irish question could never be settled. " For 
my part," he continued, " I am of opinion that the 
first essential to Mr. Gladstone's success in drafting a 
satisfactory scheme of government for Ireland is for him 
to know the views upon every vital point of all classes 
and sections of Irishmen, and that no Home Rule 
scheme can ever have any chance of acceptance by the 
British people unless it satisfies the demand of Ireland 
and thereby affords a final settlement of the international 
question at issue." 

The point was the very centre of the Parnellite 
position. Had Gladstone given the deputations from 
Room IS a satisfactory assurance on this point Parnell 
would probably have retired, at least for a time, from 
public life. Both from an English and an Irish stand- 
point John Redmond's plea was therefore perfectly 
logical. It was hardly fair to expect the Irish party to 
accept blindfold a nonworkable scheme ; it was likewise 
manifestly unjust to expect the English party to rush 
through a Home Rule Bill. Hence in either case it 
was unwise to withhold the scheme from Imperial 
discussion. A more undemocratic position could not be I 
conceived. " We do not ask for a repeal of the ' 
Union," Mr. Redmond said ; " we ask for a readjust- 
ment. In any case, a thorough discussion, not merely 
in Parliament but in the country, of all the vital points 



which affect an Irish Home Rule constitution is essential 
to a final settlement of this great international question. 
Ireland has nothing to fear from a full and free 
discussion of her claims. Mr. Gladstone has, I believe, 
nothing to fear from criticism of his scheme if it has 
the one merit of being thorough in character. The 
sooner, therefore, the discussion commences, the better ; 
and it is with the object of stimulating a desire to 
come at once to close quarters with this question that 
I have penned these pages." 

In this view he was not alone, for Lord Salisbury had 
put the situation in a nutshell when he said, " Ireland 
has been invited to meet her future fate much on the 
terms on which a Turkish bridegroom is invited to 
meet his bride : namely, that he shall not know her 
features till the day the ceremony is to be performed" 
— while Lord Londonderry, Viceroy of Ireland in the 
first Unionist Administration, was rather inclined to 
think Gladstone's reticence was because he intended 
to take up a milk-and-water policy, in order not to 
alarm English sympathizers, and be more sure of their 
support of the new principle. This was what John 
Redmond feared, and what made him adhere to the 
Parnellite policy. 

The able article on the " Readjustment of the Union " 
was only the prelude to an able speech in the House 

of Commons. From that moment the tone of the Press 



changed towards the young member: he had made his 
name. "The personal followers of Parnell," as Mr. 
Herbert Paul notes in his " Political History of Eng- 
land," "were almost wiped out by the elections — only 
nine came back to Westminster, but among them was 
their leader, one of the most powerful debaters in the 
House of Commons." 

" Redmond's speech was a. revelation," wrote Sir 
Henry Lucy, speaking of the two reputations which 
had been established during one of the first nights 
of the Session, " while Mr. Asquith's was a confirma- 
tion and final establishment of a position the brilliant 
capture of which has no parallel in modern parlia- 
mentary history. It is only this Session Mr. John 
Redmond has made his mark in the House," he 
continues. " It was scored when he delivered a 
brief speech on the Address, the House marvelling to 
find what long steps he had taken since — in Mr. 
Parnell's time — he occasionally filled his appointed part 
in the task of prolonged debates. To-day he strode 
into the front rank of parliamentary debaters. His 
manner of delivery is excellent. He has a melodious 
voice, perfectly under control. His diction is pure, free 
from the gaudy colours which come natural to some of 
his countrymen, and yet, as was shown towards the 
end of his speech, capable of sustained flights of lofty 

eloquence. These are matters of manner, and it is truer 



in the House of Commons than anywhere that manner 
makes a man. Mr. Redmond's oratorical style, as the 
House discovered, is based upon a substratum of solid 
knowledge, sound common sense and a statesmanlike 
capacity to review a complicated situation. Circum- 
stances happening within the past three months have 
forced upon the leader of the small Parnellite party the 
necessity of tacking ; those chiefly found amongst his 
own countrymen, most fully acquainted with the 
exigencies of the hour, were most fervid in their ad- 
miration of the skill with which to-night the manoeuvre 
was carried out." 

When Gladstone's Home Rule Bill of 1893 was event- 
ually brought in, it was found that what the Parnellite 
leader most objected to in the Bill was exactly what 
he had most dreaded — its want of finality. What its 
opponents most objected to was also the want of finality. 
But both meant different things by that " want of 
finality." Mr. Chamberlain, who from the first fastened 
upon the phrase, meant one thing : John Redmond 
meant another; and the debates became at times a 
personal duel between them. It was upon the rock of 
that misunderstanding Home Rule split. 

The Redmondite position was, in constitutional 

language, well defended. It was fought by Mr. 

Chamberlain entirely as a scare. Its workable merits 

and its essential principle were ignored : its " possible 



possibilities" alone were dwelt on. It was an interesting 
essay on government, this fight of the two great Im- 
perialists. It was such a one as the elder Pitt and the 
Tories must have had, or such as Fox and the younger 
Pitt, as they debated a century before the great questions 
of Imperial unity for Ireland and America. 

The turning-point was Mr. Chamberlain's "imperial 
scare " as Mr. Redmond pointed out, that they were 
accepting the measure in bad faith and with an ultimate 
view to separation. " I challenge anyone in this House," 
Mr. Redmond exclaimed, " to quote a statement of mine 
or any of those associated with me that so long as 
we remain partners in the Empire at all, and so long as 
the Act of Union remains unrepealed, the supremacy of 
the Imperial Parliament is to be or can be abrogated. 
We have maintained that the concession of free institu- 
tions in Ireland means that you have put trust in the 
Irish people, and that the interference of this Parlia- 
ment in the working of these institutions would be 
absolutely inconsistent. Representative institutions exist 
in other parts of the Empire. How many of them 
would exist in six months if this House took it into 
its head to exercise its right as a supreme legislature ? 
. . . The concession of representative institutions to 
Ireland means that you have made up your minds to 
let us manage our own affairs free from the interference 
of the Imperial Parliament. It is true the right 



honourable gentleman anticipates that the necessity for 
interference by this Parliament will cease. That may 
be — I think it will, for I am one of those who agree 
with Mr. Parnell's opinion that the Irish people under 
Home Rule will be shrewd enough to know that any 
violation of the Constitution, or oppression by that 
Parliament, will be so many nails driven into the 
coffin of the Constitution, and I do not therefore think 
that the occasion for interference will arise. If it does 
arise, nothing we can say, nothing we can do, nothing 
that you can put into an Act of Parliament now, so 
long as the Union remains unrepealed, can deprive you 
of the right to control the Irish Parliament as you can 
control the Australian and Canadian Parliaments, and 
to check the growth of oppression and injustice." 

The second argument by which Home Rule was 
fought — the clerical scare — was likewise well met, and 
bears quoting as a statement of fact, rather than as 
any personal animosity aroused by the Parnellite 

"You will understand me when I say that I am 
likely to give impartial testimony on that matter," he 
said, referring to the charge of undue priestly influence. 
" It is true that in the political life of Ireland the 
Catholic priesthood wield an enormously preponderating 
power, but they wield it largely because of the character 
of the struggle the people are waging. Still, I am 



convinced as I am of my own existence that the politi- 
cal power — the political supremacy, if you like — of the 
Catholic clergy will not, if it is tried, be used success- 
fully under a free parliament of the Irish people. Surely 
the events of the past couple of years in Ireland, 
instead of giving alarm to the Protestants, should give 
them some encouragement. 

" The honourable member for Londonderry said in his 
speech the other night that I ought to be the last man 
in the House to say a word upon this subject. I say 
there is no man in this House who has a better right to 
speak on it. I and my comrades sit in this House as the 
result of defeating the unanimous opposition of the priests 
of Ireland. There is not one of us who was not opposed, 
as I was, determinedly, consistently and unanimously by 
the entire priesthood of Ireland. Only a few of us 
have been returned, but I ask, when in the past history 
of Ireland — even when the right honourable gentleman, 
the member for West Birmingham, was thinking of 
giving over education without restriction to the people 
of Ireland — when, I ask, was such a spectacle afforded 
as seventy thousand Catholic votes being recorded against 
practically the open opposition of the whole body of 
the priesthood of Ireland ? I say that it is in that spirit 
of independence to clerical interference in political 
matters the Protestants will find in the future their 
best guarantee and safeguard." 



He argued that from an internal economic standpoint 
domestic autonomy should be granted : he showed that 
according to all ethical standards the nation had a 
moral right to it ; but he laid chief stress upon Home 
Rule, not only as a national \necessity, but as the very 
strongest bond of Imperial democratic unity. 

Once more Mr. Chamberlain became the special target. 

"The right honourable member for West Birmingham 
has another argument, that the Bill will lead to separa- 
tion. He said that the Bill would change Ireland into 

a foreign and hostile country It would be 

well for them to consider, however, whether they could 
make Ireland more foreign and hostile than it ad- 
mittedly is at present. But in almost the same breath 
in which he spoke of this Bill making Ireland a ' foreign ' 
country, he said it would put her in the position of 
Canada. Is Canada then a foreign country? The idea 
is almost preposterous. But why should not Ireland be 
put in the same position as Canada? 'Because,' 
replies the right honourable gentleman, ' Canada is 
friendly to the Empire and Ireland is not' " His 
answer to this was simply history — and certainly the 
objection could not be better fought. 

"In 1839 Canada was with difficulty held by force of 
arms for the British crown. Canada was in open re- 
bellion. Canada was at a distance from England — close 

to a great republic which was certainly not unwilling to 



incorporate the Canadian provinces with its States. 
The experiment was tried of giving Canada Home Rule. 
It has not disintegrated the Empire." 

He then continued : 

" The right honourable gentleman says Canada is only 
held by a ' voluntary tie ' (though the most loyal in 
its allegiance to the British Crown). But does the 
right honourable gentleman, who is regarded as a 
leader of democratic thought in this country, mean to 
say he prefers a union based upon force, as the present 
union with Ireland, to a union which rests upon the 
will of the people? Edmund Burke said — 'A voluntary tie 
is a more secure link of connection than subordination 
borne with grudging and discontent.' So say we, and 
so also, we believe, will say the democracy of England, 
even though some of its so-called leaders refuse to 
trust the people of Ireland." 

Two points on the question of the Irish representation 
at Westminster are worthy of note — the one that would 
make Ireland a mere colony, and the one that would 
give Home Rule to Ireland alone. 

" As a Nationalist, I may say I do not regard as 
entirely palatable the idea that for ever and a day 
Ireland's voice should be excluded from the councils of 
an Empire which the genius and valour of her song 
have done so much to build up, and of which she is 
to remain a part." In support of the federal idea he 



added : " I look forward to the day when the federal 
idea may be applied to England, Scotland and Wales, 
as well as Ireland. Then the character of the so- 
called Imperial Parliament would be changed. It 
would be then only an Imperial parliament and all the 
kingdoms having their own national parliaments might 
be represented in it. But if Ireland alone has a 
parliament of her own . . . you must allow Irishmen 
who had sole control of Irish affairs to interfere in, 
and probably decide, English and Scotch affairs — an 
obvious injustice.'' 

The words are not insignificant in the present 
crisis. Probably the young member never fancied that 
he was to become the political dictator of England ; 
but the idea of an Imperial parliament open to the 
Colonies, which he thus presented, may yet find realiza- 
tion in an assembly where a member for Dublin will 
sit between a member from Calcutta and a member 
from Sydney, in debating the fate of some great world 
policy of to-morrow. 

Whether Home Rule is a cohesive or disruptive 
force was rather well brought out in an interruption 
of Lord Arthur Hill's in the debate. " I would ask, 
how is Ireland held now ? " exclaimed the speaker 
rhetorically. "By force, of course," answered Lord 
Arthur Hill. " I thank the honourable member for 
the word," replied Redmond. " It is held by force ; but 



does the present Bill propose to take away that force, 
which, I presume, means the English army, navy and 
police ? No ; it still leaves these forces under Imperial 
control. But in addition to physical force you would 
have working on the side of connection and against 
separation the moral force springing from justice con- 
ceded, which the English government of Ireland has 
never yet had upon its side." 

In conclusion he compared the mission of Mr. Morley 
as Chief Secretary to that of Lord Fitzwilliam, before 
the rebellion of '98 — when, in the words of Henry 
Grattan, the noble lord was offering to the Empire the 
affection of millions of hearts : 

" I ask you," was the somewhat dramatic peroration, 
"is the offering of the affection of millions of hearts 
which the Prime Minister is to-day making to the 
Empire ta be rejected, as was the offering of Lord 
Fitzwilliam? One thing English politicians must make 
up their minds about, and that is that this question 
must be settled, and every moment of delay increases 
the difficulties and dangers of the position. Every 
speech conceived in a bitter spirit, by either Irishmen 
or Englishmen, must tend to increase the evils and 
dangers of the moment. The spirit in which the Prime 
Minister has addressed himself to the question and the 
spirit of large-heartedness and justice which he exhibited 
has called forth a responsive feeling in the breasts of 



the Irish people right round the world. If that be the 
spirit in which Englishmen address themselves to the 
consideration, of this question, then I have some hope 
for the near future of Ireland. But if passion and 
prejudice, if forgetfulness of the history of Ireland and 
impatience of her faults are allowed once again to sway 
the public mind and to influence Parliament, I confess I 
cannot look forward to the near future without the 
gravest apprehension. Should calamity follow an unwise 
and hasty rejection of this Bill, we, at any rate, will not 
be responsible, for we will allow no act or word of ours 
to intensify the dangers and difficulties of the situation. 
We make our appeal to-day to the newly enfranchised 
democracy of England. Eternal will be its recompense 
if its first great work after achieving its own enfranchise- 
ment should be to fill up the gulf of hatred and distrust 
which for so long a time has divided the two nations, 
by a just and a wise concession to that national sentiment 
in Ireland which, however some Englishmen may affect 
to deride it, has yet dominated Irish character for seven 
centuries, and must be recognized and respected if Ireland 
is ever to become, as I fervently pray she may soon 
become, a peaceful, free and contented nation." 

Such, then, was the programme of the man upon whom 
Parnell's mantle had fallen. At times it seemed as if 
the ghost of the dead leader hovered over the assembly, 

as effort after effort to model the Bill failed, and as 



restriction after restriction reduced it by degrees from 
its original greatness of conception. Again and again 
Redmond protested : again and again his colleagues 
submitted ; but throughout, while he maintained that it 
was intended to grow like every constitution under 
English rule, his aims were distorted into a kind of 
suppressed treason. In spite of the explicit words in 
the preamble, " without impairing or restricting the 
supremacy a legislature shall be created," Mr. Chamber- 
lain maintained the supremacy was merely "the baseless 
fabric of a vision." "Even if there were no temporary 
provisions in this Bill, even if it were in the mind and 
view of the Government a final settlement, what could 
we say after the significant and remarkable speech that 
was made the other day by the honourable member for 
Waterford?" That speech contained the following per- 
oration, in which he said that, though he would vote for 
it, it was only because, like a toad, it bore a precious 
jewel in its head. 

" We have endeavoured," he said, " using such 
opportunities as were open to us, so to mould the Bill 
that it would satisfy what we considered to be the 
necessary conditions of a reasonable settlement of the 
question. I regret now, at the end of this discussion, 
to think that every single effort of ours in that direction 
failed. Those portions of the Bill which we regarded 
as objectionable and dangerous we voted against, but 

97 7 


our votes were overborne ; those portions which we 
considered faulty and defective we endeavoured to 
amend, and again our amendments were rejected by 
the Government and by the overwhelming majority of 
the House. The changes which have been made in the 
Bill are, in my opinion, changes which, on the whole, 
are for the worse and not for the better. 

"As the Bill now stands, I maintain that no man 
in his senses can any longer regard it either as a 
full, a final, or a satisfactory settlement of the Irish 
Nationalist question. The word ' provisional ' has, so to 
speak, been stamped j in red ink across every page of 
the Bill. 

" No man can claim that such partial and restricted 
powers as are conferred by this Bill can by any human 
ingenuity be invested with any element of finality." 

It was on the misunderstanding, therefore, of a term 
which, had it been submitted to the electorate, could 
have been thrashed out till every possible misconcep- 
tion had been eliminated, that the Home Rule Bill 
was wrecked. The onslaught had put an axe into the 
hands of every opponent of the Bill, and by the time 
it came back, not the word "provisional," but the word 
" dead " was stamped across it : and another generation 
had to pass before it could be revived. 

It was in the nature of every constitution to develop, 

Mr. Redmond had explained, and if Ireland showed a 



capacity for self-government it was bound to grow 
with the consent of England. Even were he to have 
given the guarantee required, it would not have been 
worth the paper it was written on, for as long as the 
Imperial Parliament remained supreme, the Irish Parlia- 
ment could never pass immutable laws. But if that 
guarantee was thought to be refused from motives of 
bad faith, or that they were actuated by designs hostile 
to the English Government, he for his part disclaimed 
any such intention. 



1893 — 1900 

T^HE failure of the Home Rule Bill and the im- 
possibility of fighting the House of Lords on an 
Irish issue, made politicians pause awhile. Two things 
in particular, however, called for attention. The one was 
the land question, the other that of the political prisoners, 
in both of which cases the active spirits of the Red- 
mondites acted as a spur to the policy of those who, as 
Mr. O'Brien had observed, " did not wish to harass Mr. 
Gladstone into his grave" — a phrase which was rather 
incriminating, if used retrospectively. 

The land question was really as important as the 
Home Rule question, but perfectly distinct ; and speaking 
in New York the year before, John Redmond had pleaded 
for an instant settlement of the case of the evicted 
tenants. " That Irish question," as he told his hearers, 
"which in one shape or another has been the cause of 
almost every man and woman in this hall, or their 
fathers before them, leaving the shores of their country 

— that land question which has driven the Irish race 



all over the world, and which has meant starvation 
and ruin and degradation and crime for our people ! " 
That the matter was urgent can be seen from the 
words of John Dillon, who, some months later, said : 
" If the Tories ever get back to power before we 
get Home Rule, there will be the greatest land 
agitation that has ever been seen." 

The amnesty question was a plea for the release of 
the political prisoners. John Redmond was not him- 
self in favour of their methods : he denounced them 
as foolish, because not calculated to attain their end, 
but at the same time he paid them the tribute of 
respect : 

" He would never," he said, " himself find fault with 
an Irishman, however extreme his methods, if he had 
suffered for his devotion to the national cause." In- 
deed he did not stop to consider whether they were 
guilty or innocent, considering that Gladstone had him- 
self admitted that it was due to them that Ireland 
owed the present attention to her wrongs. Neither a 
release nor a special inquiry followed ; but he gained 
his point in establishing the difference between a 
criminal and a political prisoner. " How is it," he 
said, " that England has never found any difficulty in 
deciding what a political offender is when she is 
dealing with other nations, but in her dealings with 
Ireland she has never been able to make the 



admission that there is any such thing as a political 
prisoner at all ? " It was an important point, and he 
cited examples showing how England prided herself 
on being the sanctuary of the world, how she had 
welcomed Garibaldi, and even on such an act as the 
Orsini outrage The Times had written : " A conspirator 
against a despotic ruler who himself had seized the 
throne, and against whom craft and violence, if not 
justifiable, were at least not to be classed with the 
guilt of common murder." 

It must also be remembered that Mr. Redmond him- 
self had been classed as a criminal. " I remember when 
Mr. Balfour did me the honour of sending me to prison 
for a speech which he did not approve of, he said I 
was not a political prisoner, and I was treated in 
prison exactly the same as a pickpocket or an ordinary 

The pleading was not without its effect upon public 
opinion, for when a deputation, including the Lord Mayor 
of Dublin, called upon Mr. Morley, the Chief Secretary, 
the latter said, referring to the way the French had 
amnestied the Communards and the Americans the Se- 
cessionists : " Are the only people in the world for whom 
there is to be no amnesty, no act of oblivion, to be 
Irishmen whose only fault has been that they have used 
their talents for the benefit of their countrymen, and done 

the best they could to raise up the miserable, oppressed 



and down-trodden people of their own country? I 
assure you, at least one great party is anxious for an 
amnesty and an act of oblivion on your part and on 

Meanwhile things were progressing in England, and 
the sudden announcement of Gladstone's resignation still 
further divided the two Irish parties. The Freeman tried 
hard to convince its readers that the change in the 
Liberal party was merely one of persons, not of policy, 
and that Lord Rosebery was merely Gladstone's 
nominee. Not so the Parnellite organ, which bitterly 
complained that this change meant the indefinite hang- 
ing-up of the Home Rule programme, and the Red- 
mondites issued the following manifesto : 

" As if in mockery of the hopes that were excited 
in Ireland, the Prime Minister, whose continuance in 
office was the pledge of Home Rule, is cast aside, and 
a member of the House of Lords appointed in his 
stead. In Lord Rosebery and his present Cabinet we 
can have no confidence, and we warn our fellow country- 
men to have none : they will concede just as much to 
Ireland as she extorts by organization among her 
people and absolute unfettered independence of English 
parties in her representatives . . . and we call upon 
you no longer to tolerate a policy of national sub- 
serviency to English party interests, but to carry on, 

if necessary, the bitter struggle with both English parties 



rather than continue to be the scorn of one and the 
deluded dupe of the other." 

On April 8, John Redmond at a meeting in Dublin 
declared his policy. " The Irish party was," he said, 
" face to face with the ruin of the Home Rule cause and 
was in a position of disunion, squalid and humiliating 
personal altercations, and petty vanities. So that any 
measure of national autonomy must be hung up till 
the English cared to give it." 

The manifesto was strong as a prophecy : it is mild 
as a retrospect; for time has confirmed the Parnellite 
leader's intuition. Two years before, speaking at 
Dublin on St. Patrick's Day, he had warned the 
country against a policy of trust with Ireland's leader 
gone, and not a single man left with his qualities. It 
was bad enough to have misunderstanding without pro- 
crastination : now they were to have both, for, as Sir 
William Harcourt had said : " While the Liberal party 
were still in favour of Home Rule, neither they nor he 
believed the people of England would ever grant Mr. 
Parnell's Fenian Home Rule." The Roseberyites did not 
even wish to give Gladstone's ; at least until the English 
electorate had been converted. The Redmondite policy 
was that the wounds of the country should be healed 
then and there ; that delay could only mean a slow 
bleeding to death ; that the remedy had been admitted 

by experts, and that the courageous policy which a 



physician would adopt in such circumstances would be 
to save his patient, as he alone knew how, without 
first careering round the country trying to interest or 
convince every passer-by. 

All the while parties in Ireland were still squab- 
bling : some exclaiming against the " Bosses " of the 
more numerous party : Mr. Healy protesting against 
" Machined conventions " and declaring that they " could 
no more have a treaty with the Parnellites than with 
the Orangemen," while Mr. Davitt was trying to get 
rid of Mr. Healy, whom he accused of ambition by 
saying that worse things could happen to the national 
cause than the return of such a political prodigal son 
to the fold of factionism, meaning, of course, the Red- 

Above the din of such heartrending vituperation, and 
as if to remind all of the great days when the chief led 
his serried ranks to battle, came John Redmond's sum- 
mons to celebrate the anniversary of Parnell's death. 
Some thirty thousand, all wearing the ivy leaf, a fitting 
emblem of the cause, visited the tomb at Glasnevin, but 
no one tried to estimate the crowds in Dublin. What 
was chiefly remarkable, however, was the change in the 
attitude of the clergy, whose anger had abated, and 
who, it was generally thought, would in the next elec- 
tion be absolutely neutral as between the two sections 
of the Nationalists. 



There were no speeches by the graveside or on the 
day ; but the scene of this pilgrimage of reparation 
spoke for itself The chief was at last avenged, and as 
John Redmond and the little Parnellite group wended 
their way through the crowded streets they must have 
gone back many times in thought to that Committee 
Room where the first blow had been struck that felled 
the leader and the cause as with one blow. 

Perhaps the words of his own speech may have been 
ringing in their minds : " Let no man in the room foolishly 
believe that if this debate is carried to a close," he had 
said, " the matter is going to end here. My belief is that 
in the moment when by an adverse vote of this party 
you succeed in driving Mr. Parnell from the chair, and 
attempt to drive him out of public life and trample him 
underfoot, that very moment the Irish race throughout 
the world will be rent in twain, and division will be 

" I assert my belief that the dethronement of Mr. 
Parnell will be the signal for the kindling of the 
fires of dissension in every land where a man of the 
Irish race has found a home. It is because I look 
forward with dread and horror to that future, that I 
have taken my stand so firmly by your side, Mr. 
Parnell. I believe that the one hope of safety for Ire- 
land and the Home Rule cause is that you should 

remain at your post or else abdicate your post, having 



obtained for Ireland security for the settlement of the 

The, Dublin correspondent of The Times, indeed, seemed 
to endorse the prophecy. " The demonstration seemed to 
be marked with a tone of despair," he wrote, describing 
the proceedings in Dublin; "it was the tribute of bitter 
sorrow for the loss of the only chief who could have 
made Home Rule successful and who now lay buried 
in his tomb. There was no reason to doubt the sin- 
cerity and significance of the monster pilgrimage, but 
who can be so sanguine as to suppose that it can have 
any more practical use in reviving Home Rule than the 
wailing of the Jews in the restoration of Jerusalem?" 
In this he was wrong, for when, next day, the Parnellite 
leader, while he mourned that Home Rule had abso- 
lutely disappeared from the list of urgent Imperial politi- 
cal questions, pointed to the hopeless state of divided 
Ireland, and said that they had no man as leader fit 
to combine the various elements of their race, "a 
voice" in the audience exclaimed "Yourself," and for 
a moment there was an interruption of prolonged 

But this was not to be for years, not till the party 
had lost all power to influence English thought, and 
till a noble self-sacrifice upon the part of every single 
member, and mostly upon the part of John Dillon, laid 

open the way for a general return to a united party 



and policy which more than atoned for the bitter 
dissensions of the past. 

But the revival of Parnellism was not merely a 
sentimental renaissance of the national idea which had 
been sadly impaired by the fight between the church- 
men and parliamentarians. Parnell had met his death 
not so much by Brutus' dagger as by a bishop's 
crozier. Redmond, as his successor, became, as it was 
said, the " anti-clerical par excellence!' The term is 
misleading and its elucidation all-important. 

It was thought that at bottom the bishops had 
been influenced, perhaps unconsciously, by the Unionists 
in prolonging, if not in starting, the antagonism to 
Parnell and Parnellite ideas. The idea was not entirely 
without foundation. As early as October 14th, 1885, 
Lord Randolph Churchill had proposed to rule 
Ireland by the bishops, and in a letter to Lord Salis- 
bury had said, " It is the bishops entirely to whom I 
look in future to mitigate or postpone the Home Rule 
onslaught. Let us only be able to occupy a year with 
the education question. By that time, I am certain, 
Parnell's party will have become more seriously dis- 
integrated. Personal jealousies, Government influences, 
Davitt and Fenian intrigues will be at work on the 
devoted band of eighty. The bishops, who in their 
hearts hate Parnell and don't care a scrap for Home 

Rule, having safely acquired control of Irish education, 



will, according to my calculation, complete the rout. 
This is my policy, and I know it is good and 
sound and the only Tory policy." About forty years 
previous to this, in 1844, Charles Greville had ventured 
to suggest the same policy, to separate the priests 
from O'Connell, and thus deprive him of half his 
power, by getting them under the influence of the 

But, throughout, there had been a steady opposition to 
this policy both in England and Ireland. " If we want 
to hold Ireland by force let us do it ourselves : let 
us not call in the Pope, whom we are always attacking, 
to help us," had said the Radical member for New- 
castle, while the opposition to Mr. Errington's secret 
mission to Rome was furthur evidence of the 
unpopularity of the attempt. In 1888 a meeting at 
which some forty Catholic members of Parliament were 
present had passed the famous resolution that " Irish 
Catholics can recognize no right in the Holy See to 
interfere with the Irish people in the management of 
their own political affairs " — another lay protest which 
rather resembled in tone that of Sir Wilfred Laurier, 
when he fought so successfully for the exclusion of the 
Canadian hierarchy from politics. In Ireland the battle 
begun over Parnell was continued long after his death, 
and the whole fury was centred for a time on John 

Redmond and his little band, which in one General 



election was reduced from 29 to 9 ; and a good 
specimen of the style of thing a Catholic Parnellite had 
to face, taken from Bishop Nulty's pastoral, may be 
given to show the success of the Tory policy. 

" Parnellisra saps at the very root and strikes at the 
very foundation of Catholic faith, " it ran. " Parnellism, 
like many great rebellious movements which heresy has 
from time to time raised against the Church, springs 
from the root of sensualism and sin. No man can 
remain a Catholic as long as he elects to cling to Par- 
nellism. The dying Parnellite himself will hardly dare 
to face the justice of his Maker till he has been pre- 
pared and anointed by us for the last awful struggle 
and the terrible judgment that will immediately follow 
it. I earnestly implore you, then, dearly beloved, to 
stamp out by your votes at the coming election the great 
moral, social, religious evil which has brought about so 
much disunion and bad blood amongst a hitherto united 
people." Indeed, Parnellites were often excluded from 
Mass and the sacraments, and it is a wonder, as some- 
one had said, the whole following of Parnell did not 
belch forth a Catholicism presented in such a distorted 
and loathsome form. 

The controversy was a heated one as the Parnellites 

and McCarthyites defined their positions ; but John 

Redmond, the leader, was throughout more unclerical 

than anti-clerical. " Parnell's leadership is a political 



question, we admit," would say the bishops ; " but in this 
case we forbid you to have him on moral grounds.'' 
" We fail to see the moral relevance of a political leader- 
ship," would reply the other party ; " but, in any case, 
we only have him on the grounds of political necessity." 
" We, as pastors of the Catholic nation, have a right 
to direct politics," exclaimed the bishops. "We, as 
Nationalists, recognize no religious interference in 
politics," replied the others. In fact, Mr, Parnell was 
to the Irish Catholic bishops what Mr. Bradlaugh was 
to the Protestant Anglican members of Parliament. 
The only difference was, that one had committed a 
dogmatic and the other a moral crime ; but in both 
cases John Redmond could only see a confusion of 
ideas in thus trying to deduce a political incapacity 
from a moral fault and in not making a distinction 
which has been made times out of number by the 
Popes in their dealings with the sovereigns of the 

Such denunciations of a political cause purely from 
the personal delinquency of a leader could only have 
been tolerated in the Middle Ages, it had been thought. 
It would have excited much merriment as a joke had the 
gay courtiers of Louis XIV. awakened one morning to 
find that the whole Bourbon dynasty had been declared 
incapable of sitting on the throne of France by the 

Pope, owing to some Versailles scandal. All England 



would certainly have torn the man to pieces who would 
have ventured to propose the recall of Nelson on the 
eve of Trafalgar on the plea that the national honour 
required it, because a letter of intrigue with Lady 
Hamilton had been found dropped by him at a Ports- 
mouth tavern. In Ireland it left men dumb with sur- 
prise ; but throughout England it was greeted with a 
shout of Unionist triumph, for it proved that English- 
men could now rule by the bishops, as Lord Randolph 
Churchill had always maintained. Mr. Justice O'Brien, 
in a judgment in an election petition, declared the Church 
to be then nothing more than a vast political agency ; 
while the organ of the Redmondites remarked that 
" they were influenced by the conviction that such 
action as the bishop and clergy are now judicially 
declared to have pursued in South Meath constituted an 
imminent and deadly peril to the cause of Home Rule." 
This was in the year of Parnell's death ; the next 
year proved it ; but in the meanwhile the controversy 
raged on. 

It was in vain that it was pointed out that the 
Roman Catholic Archbishop had welcomed Mr. Morley, 
the politician, to Ireland, much as he deplored the 
infidel. In was in vain Boulanger was pointed out as 
an example of Catholics making a legitimate political 
use of a man of dubious private life. It was answered 

that any stick was good enough to beat a ministerial 



dog with. Even the Weekly Register, which had never 
cared for Parnell — the heretic whom three of their lord- 
ships had always thought unfit to be a leader — declared, 
" We know of no law which forbids men to avail them- 
selves of the political services of persons of evil conduct 
or heretical belief," and maintained, " We should as little 
suspect a Catholic voter of breaking the sixth command- 
ment because he supports Mr. Parnell as we should 
attribute to a Catholic voter for Mr. Morley a worship of 
Mirabeau." Michael Davitt's protest, not concerned with 
the ethical so much as the political aspect, struck the 
keynote of the situation when he said : " I contend that 
the humblest voter in our land has the right, as against 
the entire hierarchy and priesthood of Ireland, and the 
whole Church, to the formation of his own political views 
and the free exercise of the franchise which the law 
confers upon him." 

But quite apart from these speculations, John Redmond 
maintained, from quite a different point of view, that this 
clerical interference was killing Home Rule in English 
public opinion. In this he spoke as a statesman, for he 
saw its effect would be disastrous upon the great masses 
of the English electorate. Nor was he wrong, to judge 
from a speech made by Lord Salisbury. " Can you 
imagine," he said {Weekly Register, Report, 1892), "the 
Archbishop of Canterbury summoning his parishioners 
and resolving that there should be a change in the 

113 8 


leadership of the Conservative party." The suggestion 
was greeted with laughter, but it was a serious matter, 
as he went on to observe because it brought home this 
to the English electorate, that they were being asked to 
place Ireland under a hybrid secular-ecclesiastical power, 
and in so placing Ireland, place their Protestant fellow- 
countrymen, who undoubtedly would receive no considera- 
tion from this novel and monstrous authority. It was in 
vain that, when the Parnellite leader returned to Parlia- 
ment with his followers, elected by 70,000 voters, he tried 
to reassure the opponents of Home Rule against the 
Rome Rule scare ; the fact of his own diminished ranks 
spoke against his contention. 

Throughout, it was the Unionist policy to keep down 
Parnellism through the priests if possible, while even 
among Catholics, a large Unionist protest signed by the 
Duke of Norfolk and most of the leading Catholic 
peers against Home Rule was based entirely upon the 
fear that a Home Rule Parliament might limit the 
clerical power. " We believe," it concluded, " that under 
these circumstances a section of the Irish people would 
be brought into conflict with the Church, and we cannot 
look forward to such a struggle without the gravest 
apprehension ; and for this, among other reasons, we as 
British Catholics, are opposed to the policy of Home 
Rule." It was probably such considerations that dictated 

the thorough policy of the Redmondites by which the 



country should become truly national — viz., that nothing 
short of an independent parliament could put an end to 
such an abuse, and that the national idea of unity alone 
could put a stop to sectarian dissensions. 

In spite of the controversy that raged, weakening the 
party almost to death, there were not wanting, however, 
signs of vigour. In fact, the very bitterness of the 
struggle towards reunion was in itself a testimony to 
the Parnellite policy and the Anti-Parnellite sincerity. 
Another sign of health was the formation of the Recess 
Committee — the beginnings of the agricultural move- 
ment under Sir Horace Plunket, in which effort he 
was very sympathetically met by John Redmond until 
an anti-Home Rule policy was supposed to be dis- 
covered in it. But year in and year out the fight for 
unity went on, Mr. McCarthy saying that unless they 
reunited they must give up Home Rule for a genera- 
tion, while Dr. Kenny still kept up the original con- 
troversy that the Irish bishops had accepted the dicta- 
tion of the English conscience. This was somewhat a 
propos, as it was Unionist policy to try to secure the 
political allegiance of the hierarchy by giving them 
doles of educational concessions. Thus a union with 
the Unionist Government eventually left them with 
nothing but promises. Redmond's policy, on the con- 
trary, was all for an absolute independence of British 
parties in Parliament and by persistent opposition to 

115 8* 


extort the Catholic University Bill they so much 

In 1896 Mr. Justin McCarthy resigned the Chairman- 
ship of the Anti-Parnellite section of the Irish Party. It 
was expected the leadership would fall on Sexton, but, 
instead, he retired from Parliament to become manager 
of the Freeman, where he has since acted as the brain 
of the party. The election of Dillon by 38 against 21 
showed that the wounds were still open. One important 
attempt at reunion was made by the convention of the 
Irish race from all parts of the world, which met in 
Dublin, but it was for the most part dominated by the 
Bishop of Raphoe's speech on Financial Relations, while 
the only resolution which might have led the way to 
unity. Father Flynn's, proposing to build a golden 
bridge to admit the Parnellites and Mr. T. M. Healy, 
who was now also ostracized by the Anti-Parnellites, was 
scouted as a delay — and delay, said the meeting, spelt 

Nevertheless, on the third day, a resolution to 
adopt an active policy and abandon all alliances with 
English parties was in itself a tribute to the policy of 
the Redmondites, whose first principle it thus accepted. 
It was not without cause, therefore, that the Parnellite 
leader resented the withdrawal of the olive branch 
offered to them. As to Mr. Healy's party excommuni- 
cation, it reminded him of the " Ingoldsby Legends," he 



said, the "political Jackdaw of Rheims" having with 
bell, book and candle been subjected to every curse, 
but his feathers seeming never one whit the worse. 

The next year, 1897, he proposed his own plan — that 
if disunited as parties, they could at least be one in 
policy. For this he proposed at the Mansion House, 
towards the beginning of the year, the foundation of an 
Association of Independent Nationalists, with the follow- 
ing aims: (i) National self-government; (2) Full civil 
and religious liberty ; (3) Independence of all English 
parties ; (4) Manhood suffrage ; (5) Redress of Irish finan- 
cial grievances ; (6) Amnesty ; (7) Land law reform and 
the development of Irish resources. It is true that, even 
if united, the party would not have been sufficiently 
numerous to turn the scale in Parliament, but public 
opinion, at least, would not be so demoralized. But 
even this was not taken up with avidity, and towards 
the end of the year we find him expressing the fear 
that 1898 — the centenary year of the great Irish re- 
bellion against British rule — would dawn over a weak, 
divided and demoralized people. 

Two great events, however, characterized these years. 
The first was the Local Government Act : the second 
was the report of the Financial Relations Commission. 

The supposed business incapacity of Irishmen had been 

one of the factors in the defeat of the Home Rule Bill 

of 1886, and Lord Salisbury had looked upon Local 



Government as worse than Home Rule. It was tried as 
an experiment and proved a tremendous success — as John 
Redmond said years later. " It was not a half measure. 
It conferred full and complete control on Irishmen — as 
fully and as completely as was conferred on the Eng- 
lish people. It worked a social revolution : it com- 
pletely disestablished the old ascendancy class from its 
position of power and made the mass of the Irish 
people masters of all the finance and all the local 
affairs of Ireland," and in principle was the greatest 
tribute to the feasibility of that full measure of 
National self-government which has ever been ad- 
vocated by John Redmond as the only possible solu- 
tion of the Irish question. 

The second great event was the report of the Finan- 
cial Relations Commission, signed by John Redmond, 
among others, which established beyond dispute the 
fact that Ireland had been regularly taxed over 
;f2,5oo,ooo a year beyond her share. This had always 
been his own contention, and he formed one of the 
leading men in favour of an All Ireland movement in 
favour of remedying the grievance. An Irish Financial 
Reform League was started, but with no great success, 
for in the discussion of every Budget for ten years in 
the House of Commons Mr. Redmond has had to repeat 
the same protest. 

After 1898 the Government, embarrassed by a con- 



tinuous and persistent Opposition, began to go back to 
that state of academic sympathy with the Irish demand 
of the days of Isaac Butt, from which Parnell had raised 
it. Mr. Balfour had declared a short time before that it 
filled him with dismay that Parliament should tamely 
acquiesce in a state of things which practically deprived 
two- thirds of the population of Ireland of higher edu- 
cational facilities. It became evident that no initiative 
would be taken, and as there was no strong party to 
compel it, this fact became one of the most potent 
causes which accelerated the movement towards unity in 

"The announcement by the Duke of Devonshire," 
wrote the Guardian shortly after that event, " that no 
bill dealing with the Irish University question is to be 
expected from the present Cabinet, will give sincere 
pleasure to the Opposition. This is a statement which 
cuts from under the feet of Unionists their strongest 
argument against Home Rule, and it exhibits the Govern- 
ment in the unenviable light of yielding to the most 
illiberal and prejudiced sections of their own supporters. 
What the Duke of Devonshire has now done, is to 
make many Unionists feel that the refusal to give Irish 
Roman Catholics a University, falsifies their main con- 
tention since 1886. We do Ireland no wrong, they have 
said, by denying her a Parliament of her own, because 

all that a Parliament of her own could justly do for her, 



can and will be done for her by the Imperial Parliament. 
If the Duke of Devonshire's reading of Ministerial 
intentions proves true, * Unionists can say this no 

As the grievance was acknowledged and not redressed, 
it was evident that nothing but the old battering-ram 
policy would avail, and here came Redmond's chance. 
Not only had the party to be reunited, but a leader had 
to be found who could harmonize all the discordant fac- 
tions. The situation called for a man ; accordingly a 
man had to be found. An Irish Unity Conference met 
in Dublin in April, 1899. Again John Redmond proposed 
a previous interchange of opinion as to the nature of 
the new unity. By some misunderstandings and delay of 
letters he could not avail himself of the invitation to 
the Conference. Accordingly one of the most important 
elements, namely, the representation of all parties, was 
wanting in the Conference, and though some papers de- 
scribed it as having arrived at its decisions with remarkable 
celerity, the Press on the whole was pessimistic. " It is 
doubtful whether the proposals for a reunion of the 
Nationalist faction in Ireland were ever seriously meant," 
wrote The Times. " At any rate, the conference which 
was held yesterday resulted in a complete and ignomi- 
nious fiasco. There is no reason to believe that reunion 
in any true sense of the word was even conceivable, and 

in any case, the conduct of the negotiations by the majority 



made it evident that the offer to put aside personal 
quarrels was a sham." 

The passage is kt least a valuable document of testi- 
mony to the difficulties the Irish members had to face 
and likewise to the spirit of self-sacrifice and persever- 
ance which characterized the leaders. There were, how- 
ever, other forces at work in the direction of consolida- 
tion, among which may be numbered the proposed re- 
distribution of Parliamentary seats, which, according to 
the Unionist scheme, would have reduced the Irish 
party from 103 to 74. Another factor which Tke Times 
had not reckoned with was the deep spirit of patriotism 
which in all their differences had actuated Irish leaders. 
This was seen in the noble self-sacrifice by which John 
Dillon resigned the leadership : for in moving the ad- 
journment of the election of the Chairman in the first 
week of February, 1899, he said : 

" I move this resolution with a desire to clear the 
ground as far as may be for the work of reuniting the 
Irish Nationalist representatives, and in order to bring 
the party into line with what is undoubtedly the over- 
whelming sentiment of Ireland — the wish to see the Irish 
Nationalist representatives in the House of Commons 
reunited into one party on the lines of the Parnellite 
party, as it existed from 1885 to 1890. I wish to state, 
therefore, that I shall not be a candidate nor allow my 

name to be proposed for any office, in this or any other 



Irish party, during the continuance of the present Parlia- 
ment, and I trust that it will be felt that by adopting 
this course I am doing all in my power to promote 
that union of the Nationalist forces upon which Ireland 
has set her heart." 

The words were in every way worthy of the situation 
and of the man, but their effect was not instantaneous. 
The Rev. John FitzPatrick, a priest resident in Nice, 
seeing an impending deadlock, wrote as a friend of Sir 
Charles Gavan Duffy that the three leaders of separate 
wings, Dillon, Redmond and Healy, should employ that 
veteran Irishman as arbitrator of their differences. 
John Redmond accepted, but suggested a preliminary 
conference of the representatives of each party to discuss 
the basis of union. J. Dillon, who had done all in his 
power to bring about unity, was somewhat annoyed, ex- 
pressing the disgust of the people of Ireland at the delay 
rather vehemently. A suggestion that Redmond should 
become leader for 1901 and Dillon for 1902, lest either 
should be allowed to exercise too much influence upon 
their fellows, survives as a political curiosity. Mr. Blake 
wrote to William O'Brien to allow the people of Ireland, 
through the United Irish League, to settle the squabble 
of the members ; while Michael Davitt, in despair of ulti- 
mate success, feared that reunion would only mean that 
the whims of the leaders would prevail instead of the 

wishes of the people. The publication of correspondence 



in self-defence by Mr. Dillon and Mr. Redmond, however, 
revealed the wisdom of a policy of a previous conference, 
Mr. Healy saying that he would certainly join in any 
request to convene his own party, and that John 
Redmond's suggestion had a practical ring about it. 

Towards the autumn a not insignificant event in John 
Redmond's favour was a public invitation on the part 
of the New York Irish authorities to himself and the 
Lord Mayor of Dublin to visit the American capital, 
thus selecting, as it were, the chief of the civic and the 
parliamentary representatives of Nationalist Ireland. 

About the same time the further publication of corre- 
spondence between John Redmond and Healy seemed for 
the moment to throw the odium of failure of negotiations 
upon John Dillon's shoulders and make Mr. Healy 
appear one of the most ardent for conciliation, and 
on the whole to prove the absolute necessity of the 
preliminary conference John Redmond had always 

" In case your advances are again repulsed," wrote Mr. 
Healy in one letter to Mr. Redmond, " you may at least 
find consolation in the knowledge that the Irish people 
who are now said to have undertaken for themselves the 
task of restoring unity, will then be better able to judge 
of the sincerity of some of their adjutants. For my own 
part, such a rebuff would make me willing, if necessary 

to join with any of the rank and file in a call for a 



convention of the Irish people to consider the situation 
and provide for the future." 

Mr. Redmond accepted the suggestion to lay the case 
once more before the promoters of the conference, 
though he admitted that all this action on his part 
might open the door to future misconception. Hence, 
Messrs. P. J. Power, M.P., Jeremiah Jordan, M.P., 
and Mr. Thomas Healy, the Conference Secretaries, 
were requested to bring about the original suggestion 
of John Redmond, for a preliminary deliberative confer- 
ence to discuss the terms of union, suggesting as an 
ostensible reason for this change the fact that Mr. 
Healy, who had formerly refused, was now willing to 
take part in the conference. The result was a general 
agreement to call once more the representatives of the 
different sections. 

Mr. T. C. Harrington, the chairman of the con- 
ference, made it his special duty to harmonize in every 
possible way the conflicting factions, so that it was 
in no small degree owing to his personal action that 
a deadlock was avoided and the path to future 
union smoothed ; while the Freeman, which had been 
hitherto rather hostile to John Redmond, admitted that 
it was a pity that the party had not been allowed an 
earlier opportunity of considering the suggestion of John 
Redmond and his friends. Still the work was not ac- 
complished at once, although the conference had done 



much to pave the way, and the Freeman, not too san- 
guine about the situation, was inclined to think that 
all such conferences tended rather to accentuate than 
diminish the points of difference. 

Meanwhile, in spite of their numerical insignificance, 
the Parnellites had still great power. John Redmond 
and the Lord Mayor of Dublin were untiring in their 
determination to make the Parnell celebrations a success 
and to bring back to the hearts of Irishmen the love 
of their great leader, and make the erection of a public 
monument not merely a party question, but one of 
national importance. And although the Lord Mayor was 
described by his opponents merely as Mr. Redmond's 
Sancho Panza, the success of the American mission was 
beyond their most sanguine expectations. Invitations 
poured in from every side, and the greatest enthusiasm 
greeted their advent. In New York they received the 
freedom of the city, and though they accepted few, they 
received dozens of welcomes from the other cities. 
When once the delegates returned to Dublin they found 
the Parnellite revival was in full swing ; while when the 
Conference took place, the letters which were received 
from men who formerly had opposed Parnell most 
bitterly during the last years of his life, like Dillon, 
McCarthy and Blake, showed that in addition to 
a return to the policy, there was also a return to the 
man^ Needless to say the success of the American 



mission, half the proceeds of which were given to the 
Parnell statue fund, and half to pay off the debt on the 
Parnell estate, made John Redmond in a sense the man 
of the hour. 

But there was a still more powerful factor at work, and 
this was brought out in a speech by John Redmond, at 
the Mansion House early in 1900, in which he said that 
in view of the difficulties of England in the South 
African war, there was no telling what advantages 
might not arise from Ireland pressing vigorously forward 
her claims for Home Rule and educational equality, 
and he thought that the man who under these circum- 
stances should stand in the way of Ireland speaking 
with a united voice in Parliament would be nothing short 
of a criminal. 

The South African war may, therefore, be said to 
have been one of the most potent influences in favour 
of the reunion of the party ; for without some great 
national enthusiasm the sordid faction fight might pos- 
sibly have continued for years until the whole body of 
Irish public opinion had been discredited. Hence it was 
with a feeling of great national emotion that, when at 
last the reunited party met in Westminster, the follow- 
ing resolution was passed : 

"That in the name of Ireland we declare at an end 

the divisions which hitherto separated the Irish Nationalist 

representatives, and we hereby form ourselves into one 



united party, in accordance with the principles and under 
the constitution of the Irish Parliamentary party from 
1885 to 1890." 

The second great resolution was the election of Mr. 
Redmond to the leadership of the reunited party. And 
it must have been not without a certain sense of 
triumph that the leader of the small Parnellite minority 
took the chair, feeling as he must have done that the 
principles of Parnell had at last been vindicated by 
experience, and that his own loyalty to his chief had 
been at last justified. For the election had decided not 
only a question of persons, but also one of principles ; 
and it was the revivification not only of the authority of 
Parnell, but also of his policy of combat. 




" TF there is one wish which I wish the Irish cause," 
Gladstone is reported to have said shortly after Par- 
nell's death, " it is that the champions may be reunited." 
It would, therefore, have been with feelings of pleasure 
that he would have read of the ending of the split, and 
the election of a successor to Parnell in the person of his 
champion, John Redmond. 

It was really a political event of the highest import- 
ance, but the South African War, just then at its most 
critical stage, had thrown all home politics into the shade. 
Notwithstanding this, however, it did not fail to arrest 
the attention of the more serious representatives of the 
■ Press. " This is an important and significant event," 
wrote the Daily News, " which in quieter times would 
have excited the greatest possible interest. Even as it is, 
to those who look beyond the situation of the hour and 
the lifetime of this Parliament, the election of Mr. Red- 
mond, and all that it means, is food for thought : for 

there are few men in the House who come near to him 


By kituljiennission of " Vanity Fail'." 


[Tb facep 128, 


in point of dignity and eloquence, and certainly no man 
who understands better the way in which that peculiar 
assembly should be addressed." 

The Times could only see in the election of John 
Redmond the strengthening of the pro-Boer element : 
" The whole force of the Irish Nationalists,'' it wrote, 
"is once more reunited as in the days of Parnell. Mr. 
Redmond is an able figure and a considerable Parlia- 
mentary iigure, and it may be that if he were to act 
independently he might put forward a policy upon which 
it might not be impossible for a British Government to 
meet him. Unfortunately, however, Mr. Redmond has 
been chosen to represent the most violent and most 
irreconcilable firebrands of Irish Nationalism. We have 
to deal with a declared attitude of hostility on the part 
of the Irish Nationalists towards the British Empire which 
cannot be ignored. There is abundant evidence to show 
all that Irish Nationalists are not only in sympathy with 
the enemies of the British Empire, but that they are 
using whatever influence lies in their power to embarrass 
our Imperial policy." 

However much to be deplored, this open declaration 

of hostility was not without its wholesome lesson, and, as 

the Speaker observed, was a thing that required to be 

understood, for even supposing the war successful, the 

difficulty would only be beginning. " Imagine British 

supremacy vindicated and Dutch nationality suppressed," 

129 9 


it wrote. " Let Boer aspirations be denounced as treason 
and let the subjugated provinces be occupied by 10,000 
British soldiers. With the history of Ireland before him, 
is there any thoughtful citizen who imagines that the 
programme we have sketched out will produce loyalty 
and contentment from the Zambesi to Table Bay ; will 
twenty years of resolute government do it ? Can Dutch 
sentiment be killed by kindness ? For those who have 
eyes to see, the reunion of Ireland has its significance 
in relation to our South African difficulties no less than 
to our troubles at home." 

The attitude both of the leader and the party, how- 
ever, was only what was to be expected when it is 
remembered that the great mistake of over-centralized 
governments is precisely that treatment of sub-national- 
ities of the empire as so many counties of one kingdom, 
absolutely ignoring the omnipotent factor of politics — 
nationality. Ireland had never been treated as she 
really is, a separate nation, yet it is always resented 
when she refuses to act as she cannot possibly do, like 
a mere county. The mistake is with her rulers. 

Nationality is a fact to be reckoned with, guided, 

humoured, and developed within proper limits ; to ignore 

it, or attempt to suppress it, is not only going against 

one of the fundamental laws of politics, but one of the 

unalterable laws of Nature. If to-day South Africa is 

loyal, and Ireland still disloyal, it is entirely due to the 



fact that Ireland's national aspirations are thwarted at 
every turn, while those of the Dutch have been respected. 
Hence the attitude of the party was in the very nature 
of the situation, and must ever remain the same until that 
situation has been altered. This fact is the key to the 
understanding of the man. 

" The action of the Irish party means this," continues 
the Speaker, "that we are about to be reduced by their 
concerted action in the present crisis to the same dilemma 
as vexed England fifteen or twenty years ago. Ireland 
has proved herself a sub-nationality within the Empire. 
The French Canadians may or may not be such a com- 
munity, the Cape Dutch may or may not be, but the 
Irish most undoubtedly are. With such a policy there 
are two ways of dealing. You may occupy militarily and 
govern despotically, or you may grant local self-govern- 
ment : there is no other way. Every day increases the 
bitterness of the situation and makes the impossibility 
of a third course more impossible. There must be no 
more talk of predominant partners ; it is not a position 
to be out-flanked by gentlemanly breaches of faith. A 
Liberal will have soon to ask himself the question once 
for all: * Am I in favour of Home Rule or Coercion?' 
and unless he knows his own mind, the party named 
may a few months hence be once more involved in 
one more national crisis." (February loth, 1900. 

131 9=* 


This, of course, would depend upon the power of 
cohesion that existed in the party and which rendered 
the Parnellite policy possible ; but apart from the argu- 
ments in favour of unity, there were several reasons 
why John Redmond should have been selected. 

The reunion, coming as it did immediately after 
that very Radical alliance had been finally cast off 
to which the strong and formidable dictation of the old 
Irish party had been sacrificed, it was in every way 
fitting that John Redmond, who had advocated this step, 
should succeed to Parnell ; and though Mr. Dillon said 
he did not like the word ''return" to the policy of the 
party before 1890, he could not help admitting the fact. 
But what was chiefly felt in Ireland was, not the 
necessity of the Parnellite theory so much as perman- 
ence of the Parnellite action. " Everybody knows," wrote 
the Irish People, "that if that agreement is to be con- 
tinued and to have any permanence, it can only be by 
making the organized power of the people more wide- 
spread and formidable than ever. The country will 
require some guarantee of the sincerity and the con- 
tinuance of the new treaty of peace. The only real 
guarantee available is the presence of an organization of 
the people, impartial enough to be independent of all 
the sections, and strong enough to impress them all." 
An organization of this kind was found in the United 

Irish League, which has continued to increase, and from 



which the party draws all its effective strength and the 
nation its unity. Probably, without it, nothing could 
have ensured his position as leader. It forms the 
national base of the pyramid of which John Redmond 
is the apex, and what was a still further guarantee, was 
that it seemed generally recognized that the right man 
was in the right place. 

" The suavity of Mr. Harrington and the fluency of 
Mr. Healy have all their proper place," wrote the Daily 
Chronicle, "but there is only one man in the party 
who is capable of recalling, however faintly, the iron 
hand and iron discipline of Mr. Parnell, and that man 
is John Redmond." Perhaps, however, it was more his 
" urbanity " than his other qualities which were necessary 
to unite the sympathies of men who for years had 
poured forth all the vials of their wrath upon each 
other. Indeed, as Frank H. O'Donnell suggests, he 
seemed the only possible leader. Mr. Justin McCarthy 
had always been more in love with literature than 
politics. John Dillon he calls "the special representative 
of Maynooth." Mr. Healy was too much of an in- 
dividualist either to form or follow any party. Mr. 
W. O'Brien's wonderful powers of organization made him 
for a time leader in all but name, but only for a while. 
Therefore, quite apart from questions of personality, it 
seemed fitting that if it were really a return to the 
Parnellite policy, none could be more worthy of the 



position than the man who had kept his banner flying, 
and eventually converted back to his principles those 
who with such disastrous results had abandoned them. 
" Mr. Redmond, the chief of the rival faction," writes 
Mr. F. H. O'Donnell, " had conducted the affairs of his 
miniature party with marked dignity and courtesy. 
None of the foul memories of the sweeping-brush era 
soiled his name. He had touched with perfect good 
humour even the quarrels of his rivals, as when, borrow- 
ing an incident from the ' Ingoldsby Legends,' he 
suggested in connection with Mr. Healy's protean attacks 
on his beloved comrades that 

" ' Dillon with awe when his tricks he saw, 
Said the devil must be in that little jackdaw.' 

And the gratification of having such an urbane, prudent, 
and humorous presiding authority in the common chair 
may have sensibly facilitated the restoration of external 
unity between the rejoicing fragments." 

In addition to this, John Redmond was already a 
a persona grata with the House, where since his Home 
Rule speeches of 1893 he commanded both respect and 
attention where others might only tire or amuse. Thus 
the Daily Telegraph, speaking of the new leader, said : 
" Mr. Redmond totally lacks Mr. Healy's mastery of 
detail, and that earnestness of Mr. Dillon, which, in spite 
of its strident tiresomeness, produces a certain effect 
upon the House. The quality upon which Mr. Parnell's 



successor depends is a power of sustained dignity and 
eloquence of statement in which he stands almost alone 
in the House. He can deliberate without being dull, 
and be emphatic without being extravagant, which 
means among all the emotional rhetoric of the Irish 
benches Mr. John Redmond is the only person who 
knows how to address the House of Commons with 
the persuasiveness of Parliamentary decorum." 

He was more than this, however, for he was already 
recognized as one of the five or six who in twenty 
years' time would be makers of history at Westminster, 
as Mr. Stead a few months later pointed out in an 
admirable character sketch. " Among those coming men, 
not one," he writes, "had achieved such a commanding 
position as John Redmond." "He is nbt only the chief 
of the Irish National party, he is the leader of the only 
effective Opposition that exists in the House of Commons 
at the present day. In that position he occupies a place 
in the British Constitution only second in importance to 
that of the Prime Minister. It is true that at the 
present, national prejudices somewhat obscure the truth 
from the English and Scotch, but in the House of 
Commons the members last Session began to realize 
where their power lies, and repeatedly in the course of 
the debates Mr. Balfour referred to Mr. Redmond as if 
he, and not Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman, were the real 
leader of His Majesty's Opposition. Therein Mr. Balfour 



paid homage to facts. Hence, while nominally only 
the leader of the Irish National party, Mr. Redmond is 
really the only leader of the Opposition to the Govern- 
ment in the country. It is a great position for so young 
a man." 

A further point which was beginning to be realized 
was that John Redmond was not merely Irish leader, 
but was also a great democratic leader. " Mr. Redmond, 
as the leader of the Irish Parliamentary party, possesses 
far greater importance than any merely Irish leader 
has had for many years past," continues Mr. Stead. 
" Even Mr. Parnell in the height of his power was 
much less important to the Empire than is Mr. Red- 
mond, for this reason : Mr. Parnell may be said to 
have existed solely for Ireland . . . and in the 
heart of the British democracy there is growing a 
tendency, democratic and socialistic, which feels instinc- 
tively that the Irish Nationalists are their only effective 
allies." This not only made him welcome in the large 
cities, but also paved the way for a subsequent intimate 
connection being established between the Irish and the 
Labour parties. Another quotation shows that the 
choice was at once seen to be the right one, and what- 
ever anticipations had been made had proved correct. 
" Mr. Redmond is the first Irish leader who has given 
the world any token of the possession of the qualities 

which made Mr. Parnell so famous. Mr. Redmond then 



being called to supreme command, displayed qualities 
with which he had not hitherto been credited. His 
readiness in debate, his self-control, his keen appreciation 
of the vital points of Parliamentary strategy, made him a 
power in the House of Commons. One of the greatest 
of our Imperial statesmen, who watches the proceedings 
in the parliamentary arena, declared last month that in 
his opinion Mr. Redmond was the ablest parliamentarian 
in the present (1901) House of Commons. Mr. Redmond 
is a politician first, a politician second, and a politician 
third. As an individual entity he is almost unknown to 
any except his intimates. But he has brought keen 
intelligence to the study of the science of politics. He 
has given his mind to it, and spent days and nights in 
acquiring knowledge of all the niceties and rules of 
parliamentary procedure. He is not embarrassed by the 
fear of mutinies in his rear, and he is conscious of being 
armed with the mandate of the Irish race." 

A comparison between Parnell and Redmond naturally 
suggests itself at this point, though perhaps somewhat 
too soon, for Redmond is even yet, after ten years of 
leadership, only where Parnell was before 1886. But the 
two have not a few qualities in common. Both have 
commanding personalities. " Parnell is the only person 
before whom I have seen the House of Commons quail," 
said Gladstone once. The House has never done that 
of John Redmond, but there are few who command a 



hearing with more respect and authority. Both have a 
certain regal aloofness born of years of power among 
their fellows, and if it was true that treating with Parnell 
was like treating with a foreign potentate, certainly the 
action of J. Redmond since his return as " Dictator " in 
19 1 o bears no little resemblance to it. 

Again, there is a distinct quality of leadership, 
which among a group in the lobby, in a smoking- 
room, at a public meeting, or on the benches of the 
House, singled both out from the rank and file and 
compels attention. Whether because of the compara- 
tive quietness of the present crisis, whether for lack 
of that personal magnetism which in a sense was 
Parnell's, whether because of the absence or distance 
of such tragedies as the famine and the emigration of 
millions, John Redmond does not evoke that almost 
hysterical enthusiasm which greeted Parnell wherever he 
went almost like a sovereign. He is the leader of the 
Irish race at home and abroad — he will never be the 
uncrowned King of Ireland like his predecessor, simply 
because those days are past which rendered such things 
possible. Even Napoleon himself would hardly be more 
than a brilliant political leader in times of peace. Where, 
however, John Redmond gains is probably in that very 
quality. Redmond is more for times of peace : Parnell 
for times of war. Redmond could assist in the drawing 
up of a constitution, suggest valuable additions to render 



the working more smooth, help in establishing the new 
order and settle down in peace, once the irritant of the 
ancient regime had removed all grounds for further 
friction. Parnell was a species of political battering-ram, 
in which all the forces of an angry nation were centred ; 
he could destroy the antiquated forms of Castle govern- 
ment, but it is doubtful whether his mind would ever 
have got rid of that hostility which to be rational must 
be based upon objective grievances. In short, it is 
doubtful if Parnell could ever have built or have 

Redmond in this respect is superior to Parnell. He 
could become a Prime Minister of Ireland with the same 
thoroughness with which he was, and by some is still 
thought to be, the permanent leader of the Opposition ; 
Parnell could never have taken office, and in this the two 
bear a striking resemblance to the great Boer generals. 
De Wet was a man of war. Botha, a man of war and 
peace. Both were equally patriots ; but the latter was 
superior in that he possessed the qualities of peace. 
Redmond, whether at the Bar or in a civil appointment, 
would always have risen ; Parnell would have remained 
unknown except in war — indeed his first speeches had 
stamped him as a nonentity. 

It was with these qualities, therefore, that the new 
Parnellite leader was enthroned in the Chairmanship of 
the Irish party as the plenipotentiary of the National 



cause. Balance of mind, elevation of thought, dignity 
of bearing, and a gradual sobering of early exuberances 
were fitting him yearly more and more for the position 
and distinguishing him from those of his colleagues who 
are to-day in exactly the same mental state and 
political position as they were before twenty years of 

It is often said that John Redmond is not such a 
striking figure as Parnell. The words are misleading. 
It would be a pity to judge of political capacity by 
mere picturesqueness of personality. Politics are not 
picturesque, and a statesman's portrait must always lack 
the glowing colours of the military uniform and the 
background of clouds and cannon ; nor do parlia- 
mentary contests lend themselves to scenic effect. That 
is, perhaps, one of the reasons why John Redmond as 
a personality does not strike the casual observer with 
such vividness as his predecessor. For there was an 
element of the soldier in that political Bismarck. There 
was something of the general in that silent and severe 
leader, as, pale with anger, his arms crossed in front of 
him, he surveyed the benches of angry members. The 
Pigott letters, the Treaty of Kilmainham, the O'Shea 
divorce, all these surround him with a halo of tragedy 
which would have made a lesser man a hero. 

John Redmond lacks all these. But the story of 

Committee Room 15 and the fidelity of the little band 



of devoted followers, the sudden and tragic death of the 
chief and the heroic and persevering fidelity of his 
champion to the dead leader's honour and his policy, 
till almost single-handed he had brought about the return 
of the whole nation to remorse and homage, is not 
without an element of the romantic to the student of 
character. And indeed, were the same scenes placed in 
an historical setting of the Middle Ages, they would 
form one of the most dramatic and interesting pages in 
Irish history. 

With very few alterations one can picture some 
Mediaeval king pleading the rights of an oppressed 
people : one can see him surrounded by his devoted 
followers with a whole nation at his back. Suddenly a 
domestic tragedy shocks the world, and with one accord 
the love of his subjects forgives. His followers renew 
their oaths of allegiance as does the whole nation, but 
this has no sooner been done than this pretext is taken 
to break his power. The enemy require his deposition. 
The thunders of the Vatican peal forth. His condemna- 
tion is nailed on every cathedral door. Then one by 
one, after having assured their king that his leadership 
was essential to the triumph of their cause, and besought 
him to remain steadfast, the great barons and courtiers 
whom he had helped and loved desert him, and it is 
left to one of the youngest and least known of his 
followers to take up his defence. A few months of 



strife and the king is dead, and for years the young 
champion defends his name and honour, all the while 
calling the nation back to that policy of combat whence 
they had been drawn by a mock policy of conciliation. 
Gradually the thunders of excommunication cease : the 
nation recognizes only too late, as it goes repentant 
yearly to his tomb, that with their king they had also 
killed their cause, and after years of strife the barons 
meet, the rival leaders resign, and out of homage to 
the mighty dead, elect his young champion to raise 
t he fallen banner and lead their united hosts once more. 

Of course, I admit the image is entirely overdrawn. 
But the Irish have a high sense of the dramatic, and in 
the event of some other catastrophe dividing Ireland 
again, the record of a life of fidelity to his leader would 
probably prove one of the strongest claims which John 
Redmond would have upon the allegiance of his 
followers in saving him from a fate from which he, had 
he been listened to, would have saved Parnell. He had 
learnt to lead in that best of schools — the school of 

Everything, therefore, both internally and externally, 
from the personality of the leader down to the organiza- 
tion of the smallest branch of the United Irish League, 
was ready for the reuniting of the party. A new lease 
of life had been given to Irish politics, and the Irish 

leader threw himself eagerly into the task of reorganiz- 



ing the party, arranging for the distribution of parlia- 
mentary work, and in every way preparing to continue 
that independent and persistent opposition which would 
alone draw attention to the long neglected grievances of 
his country. 

With this purpose he issued the following manifesto, 
interesting not only because of the personal note of 
earnestness running through it, but also as a record of 
work done and to be done : 

" To the People of Ireland : 
" Fellow-countrymen — 

" After nine years of disunion and weakness in 
the ranks of the Nationalist representatives of 
Ireland in Parliament, a United Irish Nationalist 
Parliamentary Party has once more been formed, on 
the principles and under the constitution of the Irish 
Party from 1885 — 1890. This event, as every indi- 
cation of public feeling and opinion shows, has been 
heartily welcomed by every section of the National- 
ist party in Ireland. It is an event which will, if 
the Irish people so choose, mark a turning-point 
in the history of the National movement. For the 
last nine years the progress of that movement in 
Parliament and Ireland had been arrested, the 
efficiency of the Irish Nationalist representatives in 
the House of Commons was seriously impaired, and 


the organization of the people in Ireland, without 
which a parliamentary party is of comparatively 
little value, fell to pieces. It is not necessary to 
revert now to the causes of the disunion which 
brought about these lamentable results. The chapter 
has been closed by the wise and patriotic action 
of the Irish representatives, and the thoughts of 
men on all sides of the contest that has been 
waged are now turned on the future and its 

" As disunion ,has certainly been fraught with 
evil consequences, so it is equally certain that union 
may, under certain conditions, be made the means 
of once more rendering the weapon which the Con- 
stitution has placed in the hands of Ireland potent 
for the redress of National grievances and the 
winning back of our right to National Self-Govern- 

"The opportunities which the party system in 

Great Britain by its very nature opens up to an 

Irish party, numerous, united, constant in attendance 

and independent of all British parties, are known to 

us by experience. Ministries have been made and 

unmade by such a party ; benefits have been 

wrested from reluctant and even hostile majorities ; 

policies have been altered to the advantage of 

Ireland by the steady and sustained compulsion 


of an Irish parliamentary force, known to speak 
for the nation, acting as a single man, and 
taking advantage of every occasion of attack and 

" The opportunities for achievements of such 
a character are likely in the future to be, not less, 
but more numerous than at any period in the past. 
The present time is absolutely ripe with possibilities. 
The gravest crisis in the memory of living man has 
arisen in the affairs of the Empire, and no one can 
tell the moment when 80 Irish members, thinking 
only of the interests of their own country, may be 
able to extract from the situation its legitimate 
fruit. The question is, will the people of Ireland 
enable their representatives to take advantage of 
these possibilities? — and the answer to it admits of 
no delay. 

" The supreme question of National Self-Govern- 
ment must be restored to its rightful position as the 
greatest and most urgent of all political issues, but 
apart from the question of Home Rule, Ireland 
stands in immediate need of several reforms of the 
first importance. 

" The land question is still unsolved. It can 

never be solved till the industry of agriculture — the 

main industry of our country — is freed of an 

occupying proprietary by the universal establishment 
145 ID 


of compulsory purchase, from the burden which 
still weighs it down, and by some great scheme 
for replacing the land in the poverty-stricken 
districts of the West in the possession of the 

" The industry of agriculture and all the other 
industries of Ireland are the victims of a system of 
over-taxation, the most iniquitous in its conception 
and in its results of any in the civilized world. If 
the plunder of Ireland which is effected by that 
system is not stopped, the Irish nation will bleed 
to death. 

" The old policy by which the majority of the 
nation was, in the past, condemned by law to ignor- 
ance unless it forfeited its religious faith is still 
persisted in as regards that portion of our Catholic 
people who are anxious to avail themselves of the 
benefits of University education. Those of our 
Catholic youth who might naturally be expected to 
become the leaders of public opinion are still 
condemned by the spirit of an old-world bigotry 
to deprive themselves of the advantage of the higher 
training of the intellect, unless they resort to institu- 
tions founded and carried on in principles at variance 
with their religious convictions. These and many 
other questions press with daily increasing urgency 

for settlement. Much may be done to further their 


solution, even during the present session of Parlia- 
ment, if the action of their parliamentary represen- 
tatives in closing up their ranks and absolutely 
burying past feuds is backed up by corresponding 
action on the part of those whom they represent, 
and if these representatives are now enabled by their 
constituents to give to the discharge of their duties 
in the House of Commons that continuous atten- 
dance and unsleeping vigilance without which a 
fighting parliamentary party is impossible. 

" Holding these views, and believing that no 
time should be lost in putting them before you, I 
now appeal to you to supply, with as little delay as 
possible, the pecuniary support necessary for the 
prosecution of a campaign of combat in the House 
of Commons. The Irish members have done their 
part by reuniting without any reserve in face of a 
critical situation. It remains for the people of 
Ireland to enable them to renew, in face of both 
the parties in Great Britain, the determined struggle 
for Irish rights which has been so long and so 
unhappily interrupted. 

" It is impossible, and it would be unjust, to 

expect that Irish members should not only give 

their time and sacrifice their own private interests 

to the advancement of the public cause, but should 

also bear the whole pecuniary burden entailed by 
147 10* 


prolonged attendance at Westminster. I, therefore, 
ask you, fellow-countrymen, to subscribe with as 
much promptness and liberality as you can to the 
sessional fund of the Irish Parliamentary Party. 
"I remain, 

" Fellow-countrymen, 

"Your faithful Servant, 

"J. E. Redmond. 
" lo Feb., 1900." 

Meanwhile the elections had generally endorsed the 
action of the party and Parnellism had come to life 

" In my opinion," wrote Mr. Redmond in October, 
1900, "the elections showed conclusively that the Par- 
nellite split is at an end. Wherever contests occurred 
entirely new causes arose, and everywhere, all over the 
country, Parnellites and anti-Parnellites were found 
working together without any trace of the bitterness of 
the past. In the second place, the elections, in my 
judgment, have proved beyond the possibility of doubt 
the universal desire and determination of the people to 
have a united Irish movement in and out of Parliament 
based upon Parnell's policy of independence and even 
of distrust of all English parties — a policy of aloofness 
and combat. The next thing which, I think, the elec- 
tions have shown is that the machinery put into the 



hands of the people for the election of candidates by 
the directory of the United Irish League has, on the 
whole, worked well." 

While as to the future of the new party he expressed 
himself as follows : — 

"For myself, I believe there is a great future before 
the new party. The needs for the immediate future 
are therefore — firstly, a stern maintenance of unity and 
discipline in our ranks ; secondly, a fearless and aggres- 
sive policy of combat in and out of Parliament ; and 
thirdly, a faithful attendance of their duties at West- 
minster by all the members of the new party. As to 
what Irish questions will most prominently engage the 
attention of the new Parliament, I can say nothing. 
The over-taxation of our country, the claim of the 
Catholics of Ireland for equal rights with their Pro- 
testant fellow-countrymen in the matter of higher 
education, and the urgent need for the settlement of 
the land question on the lines of compulsory purchase 
— all these matters must come up for early considera- 
tion, and the chances of their settlement depends 
absolutely upon the reality of our union and the 
strength of our organization ; but never let us forget 
that for us the National question overshadows all 



1900 — 1905 


n^HE first period of John Redmond's leadership may- 
be said to extend from his election as chairman 
in 1900, to his defeat of the Unionist Government in 
1905. It was chiefly characterized by a return to 
Parnellite methods, a strong opposition, a prolonged 
agitation, and as a result Wyndham's Land Act ; but it 
was also significant for the failure of the Government 
to solve the Irish University question, a return to the 
Ulster spirit by the abandonment of the principles of 
devolution, and an attempt to cut down the Irish 
representation at Westminster. 

As far as John Redmond was concerned, his policy 
seems to have been to extract all the concessions possible, 
but at the same time prepare the way for the reiteration 
of the historical demand for full Home Rule. This was, 
throughout, the root-principle of all his actions, whether 



it was the exclusion of Mr. Healy from his party as 
essential to the smooth working of that body, or the 
refusal of all half measures, like the Councils Bill later. 
And it is for this reason that, though eventually the 
Unionists might have satisfied the Irish party on the 
question of University teaching and land transfer, their 
steady refusal to advance along the lines of devolution 
caused the Irish leader to turn them out of ofifice. 

While the Unionist Government was in power the 
pursuit of this policy was no easy matter : that Govern- 
ment was hostile in spirit and overwhelmingly strong in 
point of votes, and the first act of the Irish leader was 
certainly not one calculated to win much enthusiasm for 
the Irish cause. It was, as everyone remembers, one of 
open sympathy for the South African republics — a 
sentiment which had done more to unite the party than 
any argument could have done, and likewise a sentiment 
that did more to strengthen English bigotry ; and the 
reunion of the country in one party, one policy, one 
organization and one leader only gave more effective- 
ness to the expression of it. To have refrained would 
have been more diplomatic, perhaps : but it would have 
been less sincere and, therefore, less Irish. Accordingly, 
at the very beginning of the session John Redmond, 
voicing the general attitude of the Irish Nationalist Press, 
proposed an amendment to the Address to the effect 
that, on the conclusion of the war, peace should be 



settled upon the basis of the independence of the Trans- 
vaal and the Orange Free State. It was lost by 358 to 
66, and as a result has embittered the spirit in which 
Englishmen take up Irish questions ; but it must always 
be remembered that there is something very subjective 
about English patriotism : something very objective 
about Irish. 

Ask the average Briton why he went to war with the 
Boers and he would to this day stumble for an answer : 
ask the average Celt why he sympathized with the Boers 
and he will be able to hold forth for an hour on the 
disastrous results of a suppressed nationality. The 
South African War was, after all, an open question on 
which English parties were themselves divided ; it 
might, therefore, become a subject for patriotism : it could 
hardly become its criterion. And despite the wild bursts 
of enthusiasm on English defeats in many quarters, every 
calm critic was struck by the singular moderation of the 
Irish leader's attitude compared with such displays. " I 
will plead the cause of the Boers on their own merits," 
was John Redmond's attitude, and in this sense he was 
a " pro-Boer " ; but " anti-English " is quite a different 
standpoint, and he would hardly be the man to rejoice 
in a defeat purely from vindictiveness and merely to 
diminish the prestige or security of an Empire Irish 
blood has built, Irish blood preserves, Irish blood 



It was all the difference between mere race hatred, or 
"Anglophobia," which in Ireland is often a substitute for 
patriotism, and that higher sense of justice which raises 
its voice in protest against wars of unjustified aggression. 
No doubt there are Irish fanatics who would like to see 
the Germans in London. John Redmond would probably 
be the last man in the party to rejoice at such a dis- 
aster, for he knows that the prosperity of millions of 
Irishmen in England and the Colonies would be affected 
thereby. If to be loyal was to rejoice at the downfall 
of the two republics, John Redmond was certainly dis- 
loyal and would probably have said, like Davitt, that he 
would not purchase Home Rule at the price of Boer 
independence. If to be disloyal was to wish the down- 
fall of the Empire and plot its destruction, Mr. Redmond 
was certainly loyal. But in both cases his patriotism 
was objective, like that of the Earl of Chatham, Burke 
and Fox, and were the just demands of any of the 
Colonies to be withheld to-morrow, he would probably 
be the loudest in giving voice to his rejoicings over their 

The first sessions were, therefore, chiefly noted for the 
continued attacks upon the Government's policy and 
action with regard to the South African republics, an 
attitude which was warmly appreciated by the late Presi- 
dent Kruger. "I know of your efforts on our behalf," 
said the latter in an interview with the leader's brother, 



William Redmond. " I look upon the Irish as brothers 
in oppression. I am well aware of their sympathy and I 
thank them for being upon the side of justice. I hope 
they will continue to support us, and feel that in doing 
so they are supporting the side upon which God will 
ultimately declare Himself. I could not but be grateful 
to the Irish people. Tell the Irish members I am deeply 
grateful for their efforts. I hope they will continue them, 
as our cause is that of justice and of truth." (Aug. 

This attitude, however justified in point of fact, was, 
as far as the English electorate were concerned, the last 
word on Home Rule for years, and would have been as 
fatal to a Bill in that direction as the Phoenix Park 
murders had been to that of 1886. Here again it was 
a false logic that reasoned on the facts, but as it was 
made the most of by the Unionist Press it may not 
be out of place, therefore, to treat it at some length. 
For quite apart from the action of the Irish leader 
upon this occasion, there arises the point of his personal 
principles of loyalty and those of Nationalists in general. 
Queen Victoria's last visit to Ireland and King 
Edward's coronation, both of which, coming in close 
proximity to the South African War, afforded an excellent 
opportunity for an explicit pronouncement on the subject, 
ought to prove a wholesome corrective to those who 
dabble in disloyalty scares. 



Speaking in the House of Commons upon the 
announcement of the proposed visit of Queen Victoria 
to Ireland, he said : 

"Mr. Speaker, I have to ask the indulgence of the 
House for a moment in order to enable me to say that 
the Irish people will receive with gratification the 
announcement that for the future the shamrock shall be 
worn by all Irish regiments on Ireland's national 
festival. The Irish people will welcome this graceful 
recognition of the valour of their race, whatever the field 
upon which that valour has latest been exhibited — and 
our people will, moreover, treat with respect the visit 
which the venerable sovereign proposes to make their 
shores, well knowing that on this occasion no attempt 
will be made to give the visit a party significance, and 
that their chivalrous hospitality will be taken in no 
quarter to mean any abatement of their demand for 
their national rights, which they will continue to press 
until they are conceded." 

But though the visit was officially pronounced to be 
for a change of air, many in Ireland thought it more 
likely to be the tour of the recruiting sergeant than the 
recruiting invalid. It was really a diplomatic stroke of 
the most subtle kind ; for if there was an enthusiastic 
welcome from the nation at large, which would have 
been quite out of keeping with the political situation, 
their loyalty would have been taken for contentment ; 



while if any scene occurred it would be sufficient to kill 
Home Rule. It was therefore of the greatest importance 
that the official attitude of Nationalists should be made 
clear, more especially as in some quarters expressions 
were indulged in which were wanting in common re- 
spect to a personage who, quite apart from her 
magnificent qualities as a sovereign, even as a woman 
has earned the respect and love of every civilized country 
in the world. 

The daily papers swarmed with letters of advice from 
all quarters, but that of the Rev. P, Lynch, of Man- 
chester, seemed to have seized the situation best on the 
whole, urging the party to meet the spirit of friendliness 
which had arisen in England with a like spirit, as dis- 
loyalty was always misinterpreted, or as Sir Horace 
Plunkett once said, " Hostility to the Crown, if it means 
anything, means a struggle for separation as soon as 
Home Rule has given the Irish people the power to arm." 
" The Irish in England," continued the letter, " wish the 
Queen to be received in that broad and generous manner 
hinted at by Mr. Redmond in his statesmanlike speech 
in the House of Commons." This statesmanlike attitude 
was eventually the one adopted by the official organ of 
the Nationalists. 

" Yesterday's reception," wrote the Freeman^ s Journal 
the day after the Queen's entry into Dublin, "is indeed 
a reply to those who declare the Irish people to be so 



deep rooted in resentment at the centuries of oppression 
to which the country has been subjected, that concilia- 
tion is impossible even by a tardy concession of justice 
and liberty. Ireland is eager even yet to respond to any 
offer of friendship based on liberty and justice." 

A still more explicit pronouncement is to be found in 
the resolution proposed by Mr. Harrington in Dublin, 
explaining that the loyalty shown was not to be 
interpreted as a withdrawal of the national demand 
or that the disloyalty had any but a constitutional 

A short time after, the subject was again before the 
public, when in April, 1902, Mr. Redmond moved the 
adjournment of the House to consider the state of 
Ireland, nine counties of which were at the time pro- 
claimed, thus denying trial by jury to over one million 
and a half, a splendid preparation, he said ironically, 
for the Coronation, when they would find Ireland, whose 
good will was of more value to the Empire than all the 
Colonies put together, standing aloof and disaffected 
and only represented at that ceremonial by the batons 
of the Royal Irish Constabulary. That there was any 
personal disloyalty intended was out of the question, 
for, speaking in June, 1902, he referred to the King as, 
in fact, rather popular personally in Ireland, and that 
any disloyalty was against the Government of Lord 
Salisbury and its twenty years of coercion : and a short 



while before the Coronation every Irish Nationalist 
received the following letter : 

" House of Commons, 

"July 31st, 1902. 
"(To the Members of the Irish party) 
"Dear Sir, 

"At the meeting of the Irish party it was de- 
cided to hold a meeting of the party in the City 
Hall, Dublin, at 12 o'clock on. Saturday, August 9th, 
1902, the day of the Coronation. I trust you will 
make arrangements to be present. 

"Yours very truly, 

"John E. Redmond." 

The meeting accordingly took place on Coronation 
Day, and John Redmond explained the Nationalist 
position once more. " In Ireland, Edward VII. was not 
a constitutional monarch," said John Redmond, as 
reported in The Times of August i ith. " No English 
sovereign had been a constitutional monarch of Ireland 
since the Union, and that day the Nationalist repre- 
sentatives of Ireland renewed that protest, which had 
never been allowed to die for a hundred years, against 
the destruction of their constitution and the usurpation 
of the government of their country by England. That 
day," he continued — and he ;claimed to speak with 
authority — " Ireland and the Irish party stood on this 



question precisely where Mr. Parnell stood in 1886. 
Ireland had always denied, and still denied, that the 
Union was binding legally and morally, and they were 
assembled that day to renew their protest and place it 
on record." 

He then moved the following resolution, which was 
seconded by Mr. John Dillon, supported by Mr. William 
O'Brien and others, and adopted : 

" That inasmuch as the governing classes of England 
have made the Coronation an occasion for boasting 
before the world of the unity and solidarity of the 
Empire, we, the parliamentary representatives of five- 
sixths of the Irish people, whose native legislation has 
been by false and fraudulent methods suppressed, more 
than half of whose population has been carried away by 
famine and emigration, and who are at this moment 
stripped of every constitutional right, of trial by jury, 
freedom of the Press, freedom of public meeting and of 
combination, by a system of merciless coercion in order 
to preserve the domination of an alien section of the 
population, deem it our solemn duty to declare that 
Ireland separates herself from the rejoicings of her 
merciless oppressors, and stands apart in rightful dis- 
content and disaffection." 

But far more serious than charges of disloyalty were 
those brought forward by certain Conservative organs in 
order to discredit Home Rulers — charges hardly less 



serious than those of The Times in its famous letters on 
Parnellism and Crime. There had always existed a 
certain amount of personal antagonism between Mr. 
Chamberlain and Mr. Redmond, and one of the former's 
biographers, S. H. Freys, does not hesitate to attribute 
Mr. Chamberlain's change of attitude on the Irish 
question to Mr. Redmond's American speeches, extracts 
from which in distorted fragments are scattered 
throughout Mr. Chamberlain's apologies for Unionism. 
They are based entirely on the misreading of their 
spirit and trying to identify " Independence " with 
" Separation," and though the Irish leader has often ex- 
plained the distinction, the misrepresentation continued. 
But when it came to a charge of personal corruption it 
was high time that the members of the party should 
vindicate their characters. 

The bitterness of the attack on the party was no 
doubt increased by their support of the Boers in the 
South African War, but it was brought to a crisis by 
the Globe newspaper, which, it was generally understood, 
merely put Mr. Chamberlain's insinuations into more 
definite words ; so that though the paper was 
technically responsible for the libel of calling the Irish 
members a "kept" party, the inspiration was really 
Mr. Chamberlain's. 

The words complained of were these — "The same 

spirit and the same motives that have made Tammany a 



synonym for political obliquity have made the Nationalist 
party what it is : many of those connected with it are 
the very ruck of the population, whose sole object is a 
pecuniary one — to make as much money by political 
jobbery and corruption as they can. And anyone who 
has had any connection with Irish private Bills or cor- 
poration contract and franchises across the water can 
bear ample testimony to this." 

John Redmond at once determined to make this the 
subject of a question in Parliament, and accordingly on 
15 th August he brought the matter before the Speaker, 
not so much as an Irish grievance as because he con- 
sidered it, first, a breach of privilege, and secondly, 
because it was a matter that affected the fair name of 
the House of Commons. He did not complain, he said, 
of the bitterness of Mr. Chamberlain's Blenheim speech — 
it was the usual thing they expected ; but he did draw 
a line at a charge of personal corruption. True, the 
paper had disclaimed any intention to libel Irish members, 
saying it referred to the American provincial supporters ; 
but this was obviously in substance a deliberate falsehood, 
for the concluding paragraph had ended with the 

words : 

" It is therefore no hardship upon Ireland to reduce 
the number of parasites on her national system." 

The House agreed that there was a breach of 

privilege and Mr. G. R. Armstrong, the editor, and 

161 II 


Mr. W. T. Madge, the manager of the Globe, were 
arrested until the pleasure of the House should be 
known, and the next day occurred a rather dramatic 
triumph for the Irish party, when the two were called 
before the bar of the House to apologize. At first the 
apology was not accompanied by any withdrawal, and 
Mr. Madge even tried to hedge behind an " I must, I 
suppose," but the Speaker saw the significance of the 
point raised by John Redmond, and said sharply, 
" There must • be no quibbling over words. The 
gentleman must not trifle with the House. Does he 
withdraw categorically in the same sense I have stated, 
or decline?" Mr. Madge at once withdrew the charges, 
and after hearing the censure of the House, the two 
offenders were allowed to depart. 

That it was a moment of personal triumph for Mr. 
Redmond goes without saying ; but the incident is also 
significant as illustrating the Irish leader's jealous regard 
both for the House as a body and the honour of those 
whose cause he had at heart. 

The South African War took up most of the time 

of Parliament during the first sessions after the union 

of the warring sections of the Nationalist party, so 

that there were practically no important measures 

passed for Ireland, but in Ireland the consolidation of 

the union was becoming evident, and the United Irish 

League did for John Redmond in September, 1901, 



what the Land League had done for Mr. Parnell. 
John Redmond said "he hoped to see an agitation 
so prolonged that it would abolish landlordism root and 
branch." As to the means by which that end was to be 
attained, he said he "had sufficient faith in the wisdom 
of the mass of the members of the United Irish League 
to feel sure that they would translate the general declara- 
tion of policy into action, always bearing in mind that 
the movement, to be successful, should be maintained 
well within the laws of God and man ; for if they had 
organization they could do anything." 

A few weeks later he sailed for America to announce 
the glad tidings of reunion. The Irish envoys were 
welcomed with almost unprecedented enthusiasm in the 
United States, and then went on to Canada, where Sir 
Wilfrid Laurier and some of the most prominent 
Canadians took part in the reception given to the Irish 
leader and his colleagues. The incident did not pass 
without comment, the Globe and St. James's Gazette 
expressing surprise that those who had so lately shed 
their blood for the Empire should have welcomed its 
bitterest enemies, the Irish envoys. But both forgot 
to remind their readers that the cause with which these 
Canadians sympathized so publicly was identical with 
the one for which they had themselves been about to 
fight the Empire some decades back, when luckily a far- 
seeing statesman had yielded to their demand. 

163 II* 


The fruit of this mission was seen a couple of years 
later, when in March, 1903, the Canadian Parliament by 
a majority of sixty-one passed a resolution in favour of 
Home Rule, on the motion of the Hon. John Costigan, 
and for adopting an address to the King on that question. 
The address had a strange fate in the hands of the great 
Imperialist, Mr. Chamberlain, who was then Colonial 
Secretary. The voice of the great Dominion, which had 
been the loudest in defending the Empire, and had for 
that reason been held up by Mr. Chamberlain for the 
edification of the Unionist electorate, was not listened 
to when it came to sympathize with a cause to which 
he was personally hostile. The Colonial Secretary merely 
replied to the Canadians that his Majesty had nothing 
to add to the answer made in 1882. But though 
resented, the action could hardly be ignored, and one 
cannot get behind the fact that the Colony most 
resembling Ireland in history, and one which has passed 
through almost the same crisis, should have thus for the 
fourth time ventured to suggest the remedy (having 
already done so in 1882, 1886, 1887) which was tried 
with such success in its own case. 

All this while, though in Parliament little had been done, 

in Ireland things were going apace, preparing for 

another period of activity. Mr. W. O'Brien's wonderful 

organizing powers had devised the United Irish League, 

and at a National Convention the party was still further 



consolidated. One incident, however — Mr. Healy's exclu- 
sion from the party — marred the unity, the resolution 
of expulsion being carried by the Convention in distinct 
opposition to a vigorous speech by Mr. Harrington and a 
statement of disapproval from John Redmond. At the 
same time even amongst Ulster Unionists there was a 
general tendency towards the adoption of the principle 
of compulsory purchase of land advocated by the League, 
though few were willing to adopt Mr. T. W. Russell's 
plan, costing some 120 millions and establishing an 
Irish proprietary on the land without loss to State or 

The next year, 1901, saw the further spread of the 
United Irish League and the increase of its power, and 
though Mr. Wyndham at first pooh-poohed the idea of 
its being a revival of the Plan of Campaign, it had 
grown sufficiently strong by December to get Mr. Conor 
O'Kelly, Mr. Hayden, Mr. John O'Donnell and others im- 
prisoned upon charges of intimidation. The resignation 
of the Archbishop of Dublin from the membership of 
the Board of Education, to which John Redmond had 
called the attention of the House, brought the Catholic 
University question once more prominently before the 
public, with the result that a Royal Commission was 
appointed ; and though there was still much opposition 
in the Protestant quarters, it was generally felt that 
some advance had been made in favour of the Catholic 



claims : while, of course, the eternal Home Rule question 
made up the third of the great problems of Land, 
Religion, Bureaucracy which continually faced the 
English legislator. Agitation had once more become 
the order of the day — the sine qud non of all Irish remedies. 

That the agitation was a success can be seen 
from the King's Speech in 1902, which promised an 
Irish Land Bill. That Home Rule had once more come 
to life was also evident from Sir Henry Campbell- 
Bannerman's action in once more taking up on behalf of 
his party what Mr. Balfour called the damnosa here- 
ditas of the Liberals. The Liberal leader even taunted 
the Government with having tried to kill Home Rule by 
kindness. "The contemplation of the Government," he 
said, " after all that has been tried and done, floundering, 
in the old familiar, traditional way, between conciliation 
and coercion, is calculated to confirm us in the conviction 
of the wisdom of that policy towards Ireland and Irish 
government which has been and is the remedy approved 
by the Liberal party." 

A lengthy amendment to the Address was put for- 
ward by John Redmond late in January, condemning 
the dual ownership of land and representing that 
though the Government admitted the grievance, they 
would do nothing to remedy it, and justifying the action 
of the United Irish League, which had now some two 

thousand branches. But one of the most significant 



speeches was Lord Rosebery's, who declared that he 
was distinctly opposed to anything like an independent 
parliament for Ireland, though he admitted that the 
Castle government must be reformed, and that the Irish 
question, too large to be dealt with by any one party, 
should be settled by the concurrence and patriotism of 
both, and further maintaining that the open sympathies 
of the Irish with the Boers had made Home Rule im- 
possible. "We dare not allow a hostile parliament at 
the very heart of the Empire. Such a parliament, had 
it been in existence during that war, might have turned 
the balance between success and defeat." But, as Sir 
Henry Campbell- Bannerman retorted, "An independent 
parliament goes beyond the case and has never been 
demanded by any man qualified to speak for the Irish 
people, and has never been expected or contemplated by 
us." As for himself, he would declare for the old policy, 
which was the sole remedy for the condition of that 
country which is the most serious weakness in the whole 
British Empire, the most grave blot upon its fame. 

In March, 1902, Mr. Wyndham introduced the 
promised Land Bill, but it was still-born, being withdrawn, 
after its condemnation by the Nationalist members, in 
June, and for a short period there seemed an absolute 
deadlock. The Crimes Act of 1887 was again enforced, 
and in view of the general discontent in Ireland the 

King's visit was postponed. A concentration of forces 



on the part of the landlords against the United Irish 
League set the two parties warring, and Lord De Freyne 
announced that he would seek injunctions against John 
Redmond and others for interference with his tenants, 
the Unionist English Press meanwhile calling loudly for 
" law and order." 

But in the end it was found, as always happens, that 
there was real cause for agitation, and that the "land" 
question had reached such a critical stage that it could 
be no longer shelved, but must be solved, and solved at 
once. And it is in no little measure due to the strong 
yet conciliatory action of the Irish leader that, if not 
solved in detail, it was solved at least in principle; and 
the foundation of a quiet social rerolution was laid 
which, while it reversed the policy of three confiscations 
and re-established the people on the soil, removed at 
one stroke one of the greatest obstacles to Home Rule 
which had any but a sentimental reality. This was 
the inauguration of the principle of State-aided com- 
pulsory purchase. On the whole it was well received. 
" The reception accorded to the Irish policy of the 
Government," as the Annual Register pointed out, "was 
in the main friendly, the prevailing disposition among 
politicians of all parties being to hold that an oppor- 
tunity was presented for a settlement of the principal 
local economic difficulty of Ireland, and that it would 
be wise not to examine in any timid and parsimonious 


spirit the financial arrangements by whicii Ministers con- 
ceived that so great a national end might be secured." 

The commercial restrictions of the seventeenth and 
eighteenth centuries had driven the people from industry 
to agriculture, with the result that to-day three and a 
half out of the four and a half millions are dependent 
for their livelihood on agriculture, and there are over 
half a million holdings, and, as Mr. Balfour once said, 
the system of land tenure contained almost every fault 
which it was possible to imagine. An attempt to 
escape the Poor Law by reducing the number of 
tenants on an estate caused whole counties to be 
converted into prairies, and in ten years three hundred 
thousand families were evicted, a million and a half of 
the population fled across the Atlantic, and, as Mr. F. J. 
McDonnell points out, it was only in 1870, after twenty- 
three Bills in favour of the farmers had been rejected 
by Parliament in forty years, that the tenant was able 
to claim compensation for disturbance and a halfway- 
house established in the doctrine of dual ownership. 

In 1 88 1 the three F's : free sale, fair rent, and fixity 

of tenure, had advanced the problem this far, that it 

" included a fair valuation of rent, the right of a tenant 

to sell his interest at the highest market value, and the 

security from eviction so long as he paid his rent." 

What the Fenians did in getting compensation for 

disturbance the Land League did under Parnell for 



fixity of tenure and John Redmond's policy, accompanied 
by the cattle driving, did in enlarging the principle of 
purchase and thus establishing the people on the soil. 

The encouragement of land purchase had been 
advocated as early as 1847 by Lord John Russell and 
J. S. Mill ; and John Bright, by securing that tenants of 
Church lands should have a right of pre-emption, estab- 
lished, before 1 870, some six thousand peasant proprietors 
on the land. In 1870, by the Land Act of that year, 
about a thousand more had been enabled to purchase 
their holdings by the advance of two-thirds the purchase 
price. In 1881 Parnell got the advance of three-quarters 
at terms of five per cent, for thirty-five years ; while the 
Ashbourne Act of 1885 advanced the whole sum up to 
a total amount of five millions, the necessary money 
being found in the Irish Church Surplus Fund. In 1891 
Mr. Balfour proposed the allocation of thirty-three 
millions for the same purpose, and some thirty thousand 
sales took place. Again, in 1896, the Land Act of 
that year asserted the principle of compulsory purchase 
of certain estates in bankruptcy, and by the facilities 
offered, some eight thousand sales took place in 1898, 
which, as the South African War diminished the value 
of Consols, dwindled to six thousand in 1899, five 
thousand in 1900 and only three thousand in 1901. 
Hence we may say land purchase had come to a 




Such was the state of things when Mr. Wyndham 
introduced the still-born Land Bill of 1902. It was at 
once declared insufficient by the National Convention of 
June. Matters came to a deadlock, agitation centring 
chiefly around Lord De Freyne's estates. Everything 
pointed to a crisis. The landlords formed themselves 
into an Irish Land Trust : John Redmond grouped the 
tenants around the United Irish League. 

At this critical moment came the Land Conference 
between the representatives of tenants and landlords. 
At the suggestion of Captain Shawe-Taylor, letters were 
sent to John Redmond on the one hand, the most 
prominent landlords on the other. John Redmond 
warmly accepted the proposal, not so much because it 
showed a way out of the difficulty, as because it 
coincided with his first principle, that none but Irishmen 
can come to a satisfactory understanding on Irish affairs ; 
and that once they are agreed upon the remedy, the 
English Parliament could have no reason to reject their 
proposal or doubt its efficiency. The Duke of Abercorn, 
on the contrary, met the proposal with a typical answer. 
" It would be merely to give long discredited politicians 
a certificate of good sense and of just views, we might 
almost say of legislative capacity to sit in an Irish 
parliament in Dublin, were we to accept Captain Shawe- 
Taylor's invitation to join them." 

The spirit of conciliation, however, prevailed, and in the 



Conference the Irish leader, though himself a landlord, 
together with Mr. W. O'Brien and Mr. T. W. Russell, 
represented the tenants ; Lord Dunraven, Lord Mayo, 
Colonel Hutcheson Poe and Colonel Nugent Everard 
representing the landlords. 

The Conference issued its report early in 1903 and 
advocated three great principles : first, that purchase was 
the only possible solution ; secondly, that in addition to 
advances being made to the tenant for purchase, the 
Treasury should grant a bonus to encourage landlords to 
sell ; thirdly, that the large grazing lands should be 
divided up and the evicted tenants — the wounded 
soldiers of the land war — should be given hopes of 

It was this Conference, called the "Treaty of Peace," 
which changed everything. " England has now, for the 
first time since the Union, a chance at a ridiculously 
small cost of bringing the land war to an end," said 
John Redmond. Later the House accepted his amendment 
to the King's Speech — " That it is in the highest interests 
of the State that advantage should be taken of the 
unexampled opportunity created by the Land Conference 
agreement for putting an end to agrarian troubles and 
conflicts between classes in Ireland, by giving the fullest 
and most generous effect to the Land Conference report 
on the Irish purchase proposals announced in the speech 
from the throne." 



Accordingly on March 2Sth, 1903, Mr. Wyndham, the 
Chief Secretary, introduced his Irish Land Bill, in which 
most of these proposals were embodied. The scene was 
impressive. The Irish leader said he had never risen 
with such a feeling of responsibility and gratitude. 
The Chief Secretary replied that the Irish leader's speech 
was such as no one in his place had made for many a 
decade; while Colonel Saunderson, the leader of the 
Ulster Unionists, believed it was about the only measure 
for Ireland on which he had found himself in sub- 
stantial agreement with the member for Waterford. But 
throughout it was understood that the fate of the Land 
Bill would be decided by the National Convention, which 
had been summoned to meet in Dublin, John Redmond 
warning the Government against the misrepresentation 
of that body and pointing out that it was really the 
most representative and democratic body in the three 

On April i6th the Nationalist Convention met; and 
though at the same time declaring that self-government 
was the greatest need of Ireland, accepted the proposed 
measure subject to certain amendments to be pressed in 
committee. For the first time these suggestions were 
listened to. " Amendments," said the National Directorate 
of the United Irish League later, "demanded by the 
National Convention have been conceded in committee 
to an extent to which no great Government measure in 



relation to Ireland has ever before been modified in 
deference to the demands of Irish public opinion" — 
and as Mr. John Redmond declared, it was "the most 
substantial victory gained for centuries by the Irish 
race for the reconquest of the soil of Ireland by the 

The effect of the Bill was immediate, but not com- 
plete. "All that is good in the Act of 1903," said 
the Irish leader five years later, "came from the ex- 
pression of Irish public opinion at the Land Conference. 
All that is bad in the Act, all that is preventing the 
Act working successfully, was put in the Act in oppo- 
sition to Irish public opinion, and in defiance of the 
opinion expressed by the representatives of the Irish 
people." Still even this cannot blind one to the vastness 
of the measure by which, as Lord Dunraven puts it, 
nearly a quarter of a million (228,938) occupying tenants 
were able to buy their holdings and seventy-seven 
millions worth of property changed hands " on terms 
recommended as fair by representatives of tenants and 
landlords at the Land Conference, accepted as fair by 
the whole Irish people through their representatives in 
Parliament, their National Convention, their local bodies, 
and by every means through which the opinion of a 
community can be made articulate, and endorsed as fair 
by all parties in both branches of the Imperial legisla- 



What is chiefly significant, as far as John Redmond 
is concerned, was the endorsing of his first principle of 
action, that only in Ireland and by Irishmen can the 
Irish problem be solved. He himself was full of the 
spirit of conciliation, and he pointed, not without justice, 
to the Conference as one of the greatest refutations of 
the indictment of bigotry and incapacity hurled against 
Irishmen. At the same time there was no doubt that 
it was the strength of the League which had given 
him his power ; and the same power he now used to 
urge the settlement of the legislative and educational 

The spirit of conciliation inaugurated by the Land 
Conference and brought to such a successful issue in the 
Land Act, 1903, might have been the beginning of a 
new dawn in Irish affairs. For the time the air was 
filled with schemes and conferences ; the attitude of the 
Irish leader and the Irish Chief Secretary was de- 
scribed as continually "throwing kisses to each other 
across the floor of the House." In January, Lord Dun- 
raven, the moving spirit of the entente, published a long 
letter in the Dublin papers on the education question. 
He mapped out a scheme for a great federal University 
of Dublin which, besides Trinity College, should consist 
of Queen's College, Belfast, and a new King's College 
to be established in the Irish capital. It was, upon the 
whole, favourably received by such prominent Catholic 



laymen as Lords Fingall, Kenmare, Chief Baron Palles, 
The MacDermot, K.C., and others, but the bishops 
were divided upon the point, and though Protestants, like 
Colonel Saunderson, were loud in their protests against 
the supposed clerical domination that would ensue, the 
Provost and Senior Fellows of Trinity College offered 
to erect a Catholic chapel for Catholic students. 

The failure of the Government, however, to proceed 
with the matter was the first warning note of an 
abandonment of the spirit of conciliation. As early as 
January 22nd, 1904, Lord Londonderry disclaimed any 
intention on the part of the Government to introduce 
such a Bill, and later, when Mr. Clancy brought up the 
same question, Mr. Wyndham said that, though he was 
personally in sympathy with the measure of a Roman 
Catholic University without tests, he refused to pledge 
the Government. Indeed, it was generally thought to 
press the question might have split the Cabinet. As 
John Redmond put it in 1907, the scheme was not a 
scheme that many of the Catholics would have liked 
if they had a choice ; but when it was put before 
them as a practical scheme, they, after consultation, 
priests, bishops, laity, said — "Very well, we will give 
up our personal predilections, because we see the sub- 
stance of equality in the scheme, and we accept it." 

The refusal was a great mistake : for advantage 

might have been taken of the proposals made by 



the same liberal-minded Irishmen who had already 
solved the land question, and effected a wholesome 
rapprochement in public life. But it was not the acts or 
even the omissions of the Government leaders which 
told against the Conservatives so much as the spirit 
which began to actuate them — for the suggestions indi- 
cated tendencies of mind rather than actual measures. 
It was the gradual submission to the old spirit of Ulster 
opposition and the sacrificing of the new conciliatory 
spirit in Ireland which became every day more clear, 
and though no one could call John Redmond a " devo- 
lutionist, " he was undoubtedly in sympathy with a 
movement which was identical in ultimate aim, or at 
least in principle, with his own, and which he looked 
upon as inaugurating a new era of thought among Irish 

The University blunder was only the prelude to 
another and more serious mistake, when the Govern- 
ment's hands were forced into a policy of hostility to 
the reform of the bureaucracy advocated by such men 
as Lord Dunraven and Lord (then Sir Antony) 

Lord Dunraven's scheme of devolution was the 

establishment of a Financial Council, which had been 

suggested by the Irish Reform Association, into which 

the Land Conference had resolved itself. This Financial 

Council was to have had control of purely Irish 

177 12 


expenditure subject to a power in the House of Com- 
mons ; a control over Irish private Bill legislation being 
handed over to a special assembly of Irish representative 
peers and members of Parliament. It was supported by 
such men as Lord Rossmore, Lord Southwell, Sir A. 
Coote, Sir A. Weldon, Col. Hutcheson Poe, Mr. L. and 
Mr. D. Talbot-Crosbie, Captain Shawe-Taylor, and for a 
period it seemed as if some arrangement could have been 
made with the Irish party, many of whom welcomed 
the new movement. In fact, the chief plank in its plat- 
form was identical with that in the Nationalist platform 
as far as the reform of the system of civil administra- 
tion of Ireland was concerned ; and whole passages from 
Mr. Redmond's speeches could be substituted for whole 
paragraphs of Lord Dunraven's " Outlook in Ireland," 
in which he denounces both the extravagance and the 
irresponsibility of the sixty-seven departments that cost 
over three millions a year to keep up an army of 
100,000 officials, who receive in pay just half the amount 
spent on the government of the country. 

This administrative Home Rule, or Devolution, as it 
was called, became the main thread in the tangled skein 
of Irish politics. The appointment as permanent Under 
Secretary of Sir Antony MacDonnell, an Irishman, a 
Catholic and a Home Ruler, embittered the struggle, and 
the Government became the object of the most rabid 

attacks from the ultra-Unionists. Early in 1905 John 



Redmond continually urged the Ministers not to surrender 
to prejudices of the minority in Ireland, many still 
hoping that some understanding might be come to. It 
was in vain he urged the necessity for a University : it 
was in vain that he urged the extension of the prin- 
ciple of compulsory purchase to untenanted lands, or 
pointed to a sudden stop in the working of the Land 

The whole controversy raged round Sir Antony 
MacDonnell, Sir Edward Carson thinking it nothing less 
than a public scandal " that Sir Antony MacDonnell, a 
permanent civil servant under the Unionist Government, 
should still be retained in a position such as he occupied 
after having evolved a scheme which both the Prime 
Minister and the Chief Secretary had disavowed." Sir 
Antony, however, was eloquently defended by Lord Lans- 
downe, who said of the government of Ireland, "Any- 
body who has studied that question is aware that there is 
room for considerable improvement in the old-fashioned 
and complicated organization. In these circumstances, it 
follows that Sir A. MacDonnell was justified in assuming 
that he had certain scope of action : and he certainly 
acted upon that assumption — acted upon it with the know- 
ledge and approval of the Chief Secretary. It was with 
the Chief Secretary's approval that Sir A. MacDonnell 
made himself accessible to persons, of many kinds and 

descriptions, whose ideas were worth collecting upon 

179 12* 


important subjects, and I maintain that in endeavouring 
to break down the barrier which has too long and too 
often divided Dublin Castle from the rest of the country, 
my right honourable colleague has taken a step in the 
right direction and one for which he deserves the 
greatest possible praise." 

This granted the point always urged by John Red- 
mond and justified the attitude which he took up later 
in an amendment to the' Address, when he pointed to the 
general dissatisfaction in Ireland, among all classes and 
creeds, with the system of Castle government, especially 
as no one who was in any way in sympathy with the 
people was ever allowed to take part long in the ad- 
ministration of the country ; and they were really ruled 
by permanent semi-independent boards stuffed full with 
members of the ascendancy party. For weeks the 
"letters" that had passed between Sir Antony MacDonnell 
and the Chief Secretary were discussed, and in the 
end Mr. Wyndham resigned and in his place was 
appointed Mr. Walter Long. The spirit of con- 
ciliation had been once more wrecked by the spirit of 
coercion and the ending of the Government's reign became 
but a matter of time. An attempt to cut down the Irish 
representation was a failure, and a few weeks later Mr. 
Balfour was defeated upon the administration of the 
Land Purchase Act of 1903. 

The refusal of the Prime Minister, however, to resign 



upon a question of such magnitude, raised a constitu- 
tional point of the first importance, and for a time it 
became a matter of personal contest between John Red- 
mond and Mr. Balfour. 

" I say that the continuance in office of the present 
Government is a violation of the spirit of the constitu- 
tion," said the Irish leader. " For my part, I believe it 
is the duty of all who value that constitution to use 
every effective means they may have to drive the right 
honourable gentleman from the position he now 
occupies. In so far as my colleagues are concerned, we 
will give and take no quarter, and I believe if the same 
spirit animated the Opposition as a whole, they would 
soon make short work of that Government of shreds 
and patches.'' 

This constitutional point was admitted on all sides, and 
the parliamentary correspondent of the Daily Chronicle 
maintained that the reputation of the Irish leader had 
never been higher than in the vigorous and effective use 
of an oratory which went to the heart of the situation ; 
while even the Conservative Press seemed to admit the 
weakness of Balfour's position by leaving him undefended 
on the main point and pleading his retention on the 
ground of the critical situation of foreign affairs. 

But it was more than a mere parliamentary defeat : 
as Mr. Dillon observed at a banquet given in the 
Leader's honour in July, "it was the discrediting of that 



Parliamentary leader who for twenty years had been the 
heart and brain of the Unionist party in their struggle 
against Home Rule," and a greater testimony had never 
been offered to the power of the Irish party than the 
policy of redistribution, by which some dozen Irish 
members would lose their seats, and which he looked 
upon as the cry of despair of the English Parliament. 
John Redmond, however, emphasized chiefly the means 
by which that victory had been brought about. It was 
entirely a matter of organization, he maintained. It was 
because the party had been one, representative and 
organized, and that it represented the electorate and the 
directory of the United Irish League. It was due also to 
the fact that that party was pledge-bound and that all 
its differences were discussed inside the ranks of the 
party, so that once a decision had been arrived at, they 
stuck to it ; for, as he is never tired of warning the 
country, without unity the national forces are absolutely 

One, therefore, of the three great difficulties was on 
the road to solution, the land question. There still 
remained two, the educational or Catholic University 
question and the Home Rule or bureaucratic question, 
both of which were left to the Liberal Government to 
deal with. 





"DROM the moment of the defeat of Mr. Balfour to the 
return of the great English democratic party after 
an exile of twenty years, John Redmond's policy was 
to show the electorate of both countries that the reform 
of bureaucracy was the real Irish grievance and that 
the Home Rule question was once more the great issue 
in practical politics. Speaking in April, 1905, he had 
pointed out how unconstitutional was the government 
of Ireland (so mischievous, indeed, as to justify separa- 
tion), but that at the same time he was profoundly con- 
vinced that a compromise could be arrived at within 
the constitution — in all essentials on the lines proposed 
in 1886 and 1893. 

This had been, of course, the whole-hearted and 
generous Liberal programme for which the party had 
suffered twenty years of exile ; but in that time there 
had arisen moderate or half Liberals. To these he 



addressed himself in his speech of November loth at 
Glasgow. " Some Liberals," he said, " thought the situa- 
tion could be adequately dealt with by administrative 
Home Rule, or, as others called it, devolution — a policy 
which would consist in dismissing some of the Orange- 
men in Dublin Castle and putting Nationalists in their 
places, transferring to an Irish tribunal in Dublin the 
management of Irish private bills and objects of that 
sort. He wished to say to the statesmen who put 
forward these views that this would afford absolutely no 
remedy for the state of grievances admitted. He 
warned the Liberal party, with all respect, to turn a deaf 
ear to those who were inclined to tempt them away 
from the straight path into the devious, crooked and 
unsafe path of repudiation of ancient pledges and the 
proposal of ridiculous and unmeaning policies such as 

The words appear somewhat strong, perhaps, to us of 
the new generation : they were mild indeed for one who 
had been dissatisfied with Gladstone on the question of 
a final settlement. His position was well defined in one 
of the Freeman cartoons, in which the reluctant John 
Bull is asking Pat Redmond how the debt should be 
paid. " It's an old debt — long overdue, and should there- 
fore be paid at once, not in instalments," is Redmond's 

Mill's cartoon was not without point, for Mr. Haldane 



thought the best policy would be the placing of 
responsibility where power really lay, thus leaving the 
people of Ireland free to educate themselves in the 
administration of their own affairs, while Mr. Asquith 
hesitated, from the conviction forced upon anyone 
acquainted with politics, that nothing but a distinct, 
definite and irresistible movement of opinion in England 
could carry through Parliament such a motion, and he 
was rather inclined to wait, like Rosebery, till the clouds 
of prejudice passed by. 

The leaders of Liberal opinion, however, were for the 
most part true to their history. Lord — then Mr. — Morley, 
for example, speaking at Forfar on October 20th, 1905, 
said :— " Last Session the whole Liberal party in the 
House of Commons voted in favour of Mr. Redmond's 
amendment, which stated that the present government 
in Ireland was in opposition to the will of the Irish 
people, gave them no voice in the management of their 
affairs, was extravagantly costly, did not enjoy the con- 
fidence of any section of the population, was productive 
of universal discontent and unrest, and had been proved 
to be incapable of satisfactorily promoting the material 
and intellectual progress of the people. Surely, then, it 
was incredible that a party which supported an indict- 
ment so damning should have no policy for dealing 
with such a state of affairs. I defy the wit of man to 
give to Ireland, to Irishmen, any effective control or 



voice in the management of their own affairs, whether 
in respect to saving money or anything else, unless there 
is an executive responsible to a body in which the 
elective element shall have the decisive voice, whether 
that body sits on College Green or elsewhere." The 
following questions were put to Mr. Morley at the 
meeting, and he returned to them the answers that 
follow : — " Are you a Home Ruler ? I answer : If 
you mean the creation by Parliament of the local legis- 
lature under the paramount authority of the Imperial 
parliament, yes, I am. Is that what you understand to 
be the spirit of Gladstonian policy ? I say that I can 
imagine no other intelligible interpretation or application 
of that spirit." 

There was a Gladstonian ring also in the Prime 
Minister's (Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman) declarations. 
In fact, he seemed quite as determined as John Red- 
mond that the Irish problem, which had occupied Parlia- 
ment year in and year out since the days of Grattan, 
should be solved — but he doubted whether, reviewing 
the history of the century, it would ever be solved at 
Westminster. Even good government, he maintained, 
was no substitute for self-government, and he made it 
clear that self-government would be the aim of the 
Liberal party. He did 'not quite pledge himself to an 
immediate introduction of a Home Rule Bill ; but that 
this was the end in view was evident from his election 



speeches. "I trust," he stated, "that the opportunity of 
making a great advance on this question of Irish 
government will not be long delayed and when that 
opportunity comes, my firm belief is that a greater 
measure of agreement than hitherto as to the ultimate 
solution will be found possible, and that a keener 
appreciation will be felt of the benefits that will flow to 
the Imperial communities and British people throughout 
the world, and that Ireland, from being disaffected, im- 
poverished and discouraged, will take its place a strong 
and harmonious and contented portion of the Empire." 

It seemed therefore that John Redmond had at last 
aroused the attention of the dull but not really un- 
generous sense of fair play which lies at the bottom of 
the British conscience — a conscience which in Irish 
affairs suffers more from ignorance, apathy and certain 
touches of occasional panic than from any conscious 
hostility of spirit. Twenty years of resolute government 
had cost a seventh of the population, the spirit of 
coercion was dead, the decks were cleared for action, 
and all pointed to a confirmation of the Irish leader's 
motion in the previous February. 

The Irish vote, in view of these pledges and senti- 
ments, was accordingly given to the Liberal candidates 
and not a little conduced to the overwhelming majority 
with which they were returned in 1906. 

The first great measure, however, upon the meeting 



of Parliament which claimed the attention of the Irish 
leader was not an Irish question, save in the sense that 
it affected the Catholics of England, who are for the 
most part made up of Irish emigrants. It is more a 
matter of ecclesiastical history than of personal bio- 
graphy, and though it would be too complicated to 
enter into the many Education Bills which have called 
forth his criticism, there are certain general principles 
characterizing his actions throughout without noting 
which no estimate of the man would be complete. 

In 1902, in 1906, in 1908, his attitude was the same: 
officially, that of the lay politician ; that of the ardent 
Catholic personally, for John Redmond believes, like Sir 
Wilfrid Laurier, in an extension of denominational 
developments as the best safeguard against an infringe- 
ment of parental control. He is a Home Ruler even 
here ; in the sense that he believes the '' Home " has 
the only claim to rule. But at the same time he will 
not allow the wrecking of broad political aims by 
sectarian side issues, and over and over again has he 
protested against the attempt on the part of Tory 
Catholics to make use of the Irish party as a political 
catspaw, and stoutly defended a policy of political in- 
dependence of all religious creeds. 

"I say the National movement is not a Catholic 

movement," he said on one occasion. " It is not in 

conflict with the interests of the Catholic religion ; God 



forbid ! — that is the religion of the overwhelming 
majority of our people. But the National movement is 
a movement embracing within its fold men of all re- 
ligions, and those who seek to turn the Nationalist 
movement into a Catholic movement would be repudi- 
ating some of the brightest pages of our national his- 
tory and forgetting the memory of some of the greatest 
of our national heroes who professed the newer and 
the older creed of our country." 

I can conceive of no finer declaration from a politician, 
nor one more calculated to inspire respect and confi- 
dence in the event of an Irish parliament, composed of 
Catholics, being entrusted with power over Protestants. 
At the same time, as he reminded his hearers at the 
Coliseum in June, 1908, Catholics have lost nothing 
in thus trusting to a national instead of a Catholic 
party. The Catholic schools of England were really the 
creation of the Nationalist parties of the past, and in 
that party they would find, he assured them, their best 
shield and bulwark ; only they must allow that party at 
least political discretion upon questions of ways and 
means. How necessary this last phrase is anyone 
familiar with educational controversies will at once 
realize, for there were some Catholic organs which did 
not scruple to assert that they could not distinguish 
between the spirit of Henry VIII. and that of the Irish 
leader, while one worthy prelate compared him to a 



second Clemenceau ; and this at a time when almost 
every action of his was taken with full approbation and 
knowledge of the English ecclesiastical authorities. The 
clashes, indeed, that occurred, such as that at Manchester, 
when the United Irish League and the clergy came into 
conflict, is another example of the same spirit, the best 
answer to which is contained in Mr. Dillon's remark, 
that, once it is allowed that the question is one of 
policy and of tactics, he was ready to maintain that 
the trained politicians of the League and of the Irish 
party are much more likely to be good judges of 
political tactics than any ecclesiastic in the land. 

John Dillon's Catholicism few would impeach, for none 
worked harder than the Irish party for that cause, and 
none in that party harder than Dillon. But as John 
Redmond and many of the Irish party foresaw, the 
opportunity had been lost in 1902, when separate treat- 
ment could easily have been secured by meeting the 
Nonconformist grievances in a generous spirit. The 
politicians' hands were forced by the theologians, but 
their political instincts proved right in the end. Cardinal 
Vaughan, however, was not unmindful of the Irish 
labours, and it is a pleasing trait of the Tory prelate 
to find him trying — in return for the Nationalist help 
— to start a movement in England to get them a national 

That the charge of betraying the schools which was 



levelled against the party was unfounded needed, however, 
an official denial in the heated controversy of 1906, and 
the Irish leader accordingly received the following letter 
from the Archbishop of Westminster: 

" Dear Mr. Redmond, 

" Now that our long struggle for educational 
equality is momentarily at an end, it is due to you 
that I should again thank you and your colleagues 
for the efforts that you have made to rescue our 
Schools in England and Wales from the jeopardy in 
which the proposals of the Government had placed 
them. Knowing as I do the negotiations which 
have taken place, I am satisfied that you have done 
your best to deal with a very delicate and critical 

" With every good wish for Xmas and the 
coming year, 

"Believe me, yours very sincerely, 
" 1906. Francis, Abp. of Westminster." 

This position of independence was again visible in 
1908, when again the Irish leader was indefatigable in 
his efforts on behalf of the Catholic schools, and here 
not without success, for he obtained almost all the 
concessions necessary to preserve the religious atmo- 
sphere. But he was bitterly opposed to the Catholic 



deputation to the House of Lords for the rejection of 
the Bill, not so much because he himself was in favour 
of the Bill in all its details, but because, as he reminded 
the House, he believed it was contrary to the best policy 
in the long run, namely, that he preferred to trust the 
Catholic schools to the broad-minded generosity of 
English democracy than to establish them with the help 
of such a reactionary body as the House of Lords, 
whom it would only strengthen for the great consti- 
tutional struggle of which he looked upon the rejection 
of the Education Bill as the first blow. 

It was a long-sighted policy, but this was very 
characteristic of the Irish leader, and sheds a great 
light, not only upon his statesmanship, but also upon his 
mental attitude towards Catholicism. His name will be 
coupled, and deservedly so, with those of Windthorst and 
Montalembert, but it will not be in the same way. 
They were political Catholics ; he is a Catholic politician. 
With him the statesman prevails over the personal 
believer ; not that he places religion below politics so 
much as that he recognizes a sort of religion in true 
politics such as establish a Roman equality of treatment 
with a consequent atmosphere of mutual respect, in which 
every creed will flourish according to the value of its 
own intrinsic merits. And in this he resembles another 
great Catholic statesman of the Empire, and a personal 

friend. Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the Canadian Premier, who 



has had himself to deal with almost the same problem 
and solved it in exactly the same way. 

Thus when, in 1905, a bigoted outcry was raised 
against Sir Wilfrid Laurier for proposing legislation 
which would allow Catholic denominational schools to 
be established in two of the western provinces, pretend- 
ing that this was abandoning Canada to the Roman 
Catholics, as a matter of fact, he was merely extending 
a principle in force for some thirty years, and one upon 
which the whole religious difficulty had been solved to 
the satisfaction of both parties. But the prejudice raised 
in England was so great that Mr. George T. Fulford, 
one of the Dominion Senators, thus wrote to the Daily 
Chronicle upon the charge of clericalism : 

" Sir Wilfrid Laurier was the first great Canadian 
Catholic who took exception to the interference of the 
hierarchy in the Dominion politics. I^e carried his case 
to Rome and secured a pronunciamento from the late 
Pope practically debarring the Roman hierarchy from 
taking part in Canadian politics. The charge made 
now of being a tool of the hierarchy is not only 
singularly unjust, but can only be made by one who 
has some other motive in view than that of presenting a 
true aspect of Sir Wilfrid Laurier's life and character." 

The action is significant because of the similarity of 
the two men Redmond and Laurier and the identity 
of their creeds, both religious and political. Both are in 

i93 13 


a sense Home Rulers and Rome Rulers — but they are 
examples of that virile lay spirit which, if rare, has 
distinguished even the most religious, and is certainly 
worth noting by those who seek to make out that a 
Catholic Minister must be under the thumb of the priest, 
and that a Nationalist Premier cannot be an Imperialist 
as well. Like O'Connell, their motto is, We will take our 
religion from Rome, but not our politics. But it is often 
forgotten that it is Rome's motto also, as indeed was 
shown by the interview which Pius X. gave to the Irish 
leader in 1905, and which was so resented by Tories 
and so acclaimed by Nationalists. 

John Redmond's own account of the Holy Father's 
interview was thus described to Mr. Stead : 

" I was ushered into his presence," he said, " through 

stately corridors and splendid antechambers, escorted by 

Papal guards and chamberlains. But all the pomp and 

glory stopped when we reached the Pope's room. The 

door was flung open and instead of finding the Pope on 

his throne surrounded by ecclesiastics waiting for me to 

kiss his foot, as some people used to say, I found 

standing almost on the threshold a dear old priest all 

alone, the like of whom I have seen in many an Irish 

village, who would not even let me kiss his ring. He 

grasped both my hands and then putting one arm round 

my neck, led me to a chair, where we sat and talked for 

nearly two hours." 



He was introduced at the Vatican by the Marquis 
MacSweeny, and accompanied by Mgr. Cameron, from 
Canada, and with the aid of an interpreter had long 
conversations on the religious, political and industrial 
movements of Ireland. " I recognize," the Holy Father is 
reported as saying, " the Irish party as the defenders of 
the Catholic religion, because it is the national religion 
and it is the national party, and the struggles of the 
party by lawful and peaceful means to win political 
liberty for Ireland, and to obtain the full civic rights of 
the Irish people denied them at present, have my deep 
sympathy and blessing." 

The report of this interview in all the English Press 
caused not a little controversy, which, of course, took the 
colour of the channels through which it passed. The 
Pope was declared a Home Ruler in some quarters. It 
was in other quarters, of course, denied that any 
reference to Home Rule had been made or intended, 
but one correspondent tried to place upon the visit 
another political significance by saying that the Pontiff 
had lectured John Redmond on his disloyalty, expressing 
his highest appreciation of the cordial reception given 
to King Edward during his visit to Ireland, and specially 
recommended to the Irish leader and the Irish nation 
loyalty to their sovereign and respect for the constituted 

The resentment, however, from both parties was equally 

195 13* 


irrelevant, as not only had the Holy Father no intention 
to exert any political influence on English domestic 
aiifairs, but probably no Irishman would admit his right, 
even if it were attempted. The whole visit was public, 
but hardly official, and it meant no more in the sphere 
of politics for John Redmond than for King Edward to be 
received. It was, however, a graceful recognition of 
Catholic services of the Irishman ; and the large portrait 
which the Pontiff presented to Mr. Redmond was 
endorsed in the Pope's own hand with the following 
inscription : — 

" To my beloved Son, John Redmond, Leader of the 
Irish Party in the House of Commons, with a wish that 
he, together with his equally beloved colleagues, using all 
legal and peaceful means, may win that liberty which 
makes for the welfare of the whole country, we impart 
our Apostolic Benediction with particular affection. 

" From the Vatican. 

"27 April, 1905, 

"Pius PP." 

One cannot help remarking, however, that this Ponti- 
fical tribute was fitting to one who had suffered so much 
from the Catholic hierarchy of his own land during the 
dark and troublous period of the Split, when to be a Par- 
nellite seemed almost to cease to be a Catholic. A weaker 

faith would have made a Davitt; a more bigoted one 



would have turned him against his leader. The moderate 
position, which was true to both causes, is one of the 
great traits of the mental equilibrium of the man, an 
attitude which he preserved throughout the debates upon 
the Catholic University Bill. 

The New Irish University, which we will treat here, 
is perhaps the measure with which John Redmond's 
name will be most associated in history, as it marks the 
final triumph of a cause which has been fought for ever 
since, in the days of Grattan's Parliament, Trinity opened 
its doors though not its endowments to Catholics — an 
example which was not followed by Oxford and Cam- 
bridge for three-quarters of a century. It was a good 
example of that Fabian perseverance which is character- 
istic of the creed and of the race, and of John Redmond 
in particular ; a good lesson, moreover, to those who for 
years advocated the compromise of rights which, as the 
Irish leader had throughout maintained, should be 
granted in full. For it was not as if Catholics had been 
absolutely excluded from the Universities. They could 
have compromised their position by entering Trinity 
College, but they wished to maintain they had a full 
right to a Catholic University, and they refused to go to 
one whose religious atmosphere was antagonistic and 
dangerous to them. 

The establishment of three Queen's Colleges, one in 

Cork, another in Galway and another in Belfast, by Sir 



Robert Peel, in 1838, was the first attempt to supply a 
higher education ; but " godless colleges," as they were 
called from their undenominational character, were no 
remedy for a people pining for a University with a 
Catholic atmosphere. In 1873 Gladstone, the Just, as he 
ought to be termed, took up the case of a Catholic 
University and failed. Then Fawcett's Act abolished the 
tests on Catholics and Presbyterians in Trinity. But 
Newman's attempt, some fifty years ago, was perhaps 
the nearest approach to what Catholics desired in the 
way of Catholic University life and atmosphere (the 
Royal University in 1882 being merely an examining 
body), and this has been laudably kept up by the Jesuit 
Fathers and in spirit will no doubt form the nucleus of 
Catholic higher thought. But the steps of progress were 
painfully slow, and generation after generation of yearn- 
ing minds had been doomed to the limitations of 
ordinary public-school education. v 

In 1868 Lord Mayo, then Chief Secretary, tried to 
bring forward a scheme. In 1873 Gladstone tried; in 
1885 a Conservative Government tried; in 1889 Mr. 
Balfour ; in 1892 Lord Randolph Churchill ; in 1896 Lord 
Cadogan. In 1899 Mr. Balfour proposed two new 
Universities, one with a Catholic and one with a Pres- 
byterian atmosphere. In 1901 the Robertson Commission 
proposed to exclude Trinity from inquiry and constitute 

a federal teaching University with four colleges, one new 



Catholic college to be situated in Dublin. Early in 
1904, Lord Dunraven proposed the enlargement of the 
University of Dublin to include Belfast Queen's College 
and proposing a new Catholic college for Dublin, each 
being " autonomous and residential " — and before the end 
of the session it was announced by the Irish party that 
they were prepared to accept either of the two last 
schemes and that the ecclesiastical authorities were like- 
wise satisfied ; but even then the Government still 
hesitated to move, although the Irish leader was con- 
tinually urging the importance of the question from the 
point of view of " the brain value of the nation " ; each year 
practically meaning a generation of young men losing 
the advantages of higher education. 

On March 31st, 1908, therefore, the third great measure 
of the session to remedy a grievance which was certainly 
second only to Home Rule was introduced by Mr. 
Birrell, who told the House that he had only accepted 
the Chief Secretaryship in the hope of being able to 
solve the problem which Mr. Bryce's retirement had left 

The scheme proposed to deal with the two Universities 
in the following manner, not in Mr. Bryce's bi-federal 
scheme. Instead of the existing Trinity College and 
Royal University, forming one University with two 
colleges, two new Universities were to be formed — one 
in Dublin, consisting of the Cork and Galway colleges, 


and a new college in Dublin, and the other in Belfast, 
thus satisfying the grievances of both Presbyterians and 
Catholics. The governing authorities were to be elective, 
no religious tests were to be imposed, and powers of 
affiliation were to be conferred so as to include May- 
nooth. But great as was the enthusiasm with which the 
Bill was welcomed (leave being given to introduce the 
Bill by 317 votes to 24), there were some who looked 
upon it as likely to perpetuate the religious differences 
of the country by making the Universities into theo- 
logical pens. 

This was greatly resented by the Irish leader, who 
pointed out that wherever denominations existed a 
certain amount of denominationalism must result, for so 
it was at the Mahomedan University at Khartoum; and 
a pleasing touch of generosity was seen in the consent 
of Roman Catholic bishops to allow their positions to 
depend upon the election of graduates. But the general 
spirit was as Mr. Redmond had continually urged upon 
the House — to trust the Irish people ; and such in the 
end was done, with the result, as the Irish leader himself 
put it, that they have at last a great democratic and 
national University. 

Again, it is pleasing to note the difference between 

Mr. Redmond and others, like F. H. O'Donnell, on the 

point of view of education. Both, it is true, are in 

favour of the National element overshadowing the 



sectarian, but from different points of view. The one is 
from the wish to denominationalize, the other from the 
wish to protect undenominationalism. Mr. O'Donnell is 
strongly in favour of mixed education. He quotes 
instances such as where the Duke of Norfolk and five 
hundred leading Catholics rejected the idea of a Catholic 
University when Leo XIII. and Cardinal Manning tried 
to impose on them such a University under Monsignor 
Capel. They would have none of it ; and the Holy 
Father decided with them. Of course it was open to 
Irishmen also to go to the existing Universities, and 
Trinity could have been " flooded " long ago. But this 
would have been a compromise, and both from political 
and religious motives Mr. Redmond was against it in 
principle, refusing to send his own son where he had 
been educated himself. 

Mr. O'Donnell's History of the Irish Party pleads a 
cause, but it is none the less interesting for that. 

" The English Catholics absolutely refused to attend 
the Pope's Catholic University in England," he writes. 
" They maintain their right to attend the national Uni- 
versities of Britain, and they got the new Catholic 
University abolished and free access to the national 
Universities guaranteed by Papal and episcopal decree. 
The Jesuits and the Benedictines at once set about 
opening Catholic halls of residence at Oxford and 

Cambridge, just as they could do in Queen's College, 



Cork or Galway ; and leading Jesuits openly write 
that mingling with their fellow-countrymen is most 
beneficial to the Catholic students of Oxford and Cam- 
bridge. . . . No Catholic State in the world supports a 
Catholic University. The mingling of fellow-countrymen 
of different religions is more necessary in Ireland than 
anywhere in the world. That is why the ' Union Policy ' 
is to keep them separated even in the University." 

How far the new National University will meet the 
wants of the new generation ; how far Trinity, where 
there are this year a record number of Catholics, will 
lose ; how far the establishment of two Universities will 
tend to perpetuate the religious differences and separate 
the national life of each generation into two theological 
camps ; how far the gradual advance of liberal thought 
will gradually secularize both, is a question which 
only the future can solve. One can only say with 
Mr. Balfour in 1899 — "It is not for us to consider how 
far the undoubtedly conscientious objections of the 
Roman Catholic population to use the means at their 
disposal are wise or unwise. This is not our business. 
What we have to do is to consider what we can do 
consistently with our conscience to meet their wants." 
The justice of these wants was admitted ; they were 
unjustly withheld ; they have at last been granted ; 
that is, from Mr. Redmond's point of view, the end of 

the question, 



The two attitudes are characteristic of the men. Mr. 
O'Donnell starts with the intention of repressing the 
clergy, for he is an open knti-clerical. Mr. Redmond, 
on the contrary, looks facts in the face and sees that 
if the clergy will predominate it will be on account 
of their own individual merits, and simply because 
there is no body of educated laity fit to take their 
place ; but even if there were, he would oppose the 
spirit which disqualified a man for science because of 
the sacredness of his calling and then scoffs at the 
sanctity of the calling because it does not contribute 
to the advance of science. 

John Redmond sees the practical grievance of a 
Catholic being deprived of University teaching because 
of the danger to his faith ; he simply wishes to put 
an end to it. It is not for him to discuss whether 
the Catholic is right or wrong in his scruple, nor to 
question the wisdom of a Presbyterian University being 
established also. But he will not have religious tests 
imposed to compel belief. He simply takes the de- 
nominations as they stand, and gives both full liberty 
upon the broad national basis. For to foster denomina- 
tionalism is a much more undenominational act than to 
suppress it. The priest will, therefore, rule more by 
reason of his individuality than of his office ; more by 
his learning than his sacred character, as did the Fathers 

in the schools of Alexandria. 


CHAPTER Ylll— continued 

1905 — 1910 

A PART from the Education and the University ques- 
tion, another great matter called for attention in 
Ireland, namely, the reform of bureaucracy and the 
substitution of popular government, or Home Rule, and 
a great advance in that direction was made in the 
famous Councils Bill. 

It was generally thought that its rejection had cost 
John Redmond his reputation as a statesman. It will 
probably be found, in the light of future history, 
to have made it ; for he is nothing if not an advocate 
of full measures, and it was essentially a half 
measure. But it was dangerous ground, and for a 
short time after their return to power, the Liberals did 
not touch the question of Ireland. They merely let 
matters mature, and John Redmond, while declaring 
emphatically that nothing short of Home Rule would 
satisfy the Nationalists, made it plain that they would do 

everything in reason to help the solution of the problem. 



The continuance of the Sir Antony MacDonnell con- 
troversy still kept the reform of bureaucracy before the 
public, but it became more and more evident that Devo- 
lution and Home Rule had never been identical ; Lord 
Lansdowne declaring that the Government had never 
entertained the slightest idea of paving the way for Home 
Rule, and Mr. Balfour denouncing the preposterous 
legend which had accused the Unionist party of a crime, 
as he put it, almost as bad as horse-stealing. 

Accordingly on September 23rd, 1907, John Redmond 
once more put forward the Irish demand, declaring that he 
did not believe that any settlement of the Irish question 
could ever come from a parliament that did not under- 
stand Irish ideas and generally disregarded Irish public 
opinion : while as to the scheme of administrative Home 
Rule, so much in the air, though he himself could only 
look upon it as a makeshift, when the Ministerial pro- 
posals had been drafted they would be submitted to a 
Convention. There were many, such as Mr. W. O'Brien, 
who disagreed with this attitude of pressure on the part 
of the leader, as opposed to a more conciliatory tone ; 
but the memory of the old ParnelUte methods was still 
strong, and perhaps, too, Mr. Redmond was thinking 
that the period most noted for conciliation, from 1829 to 
1869, had likewise been the most barren in legislation. 
In any case, he warned the Government of the danger 

of half measures. 



The reform of bureaucracy had been a long felt 
want : it was the fundamental grievance imposed by 
the Union ; and it was against this system that most of 
the Nationalist attacks had converged under the name of 
Home Rule, which had only become a Separatist move- 
ment when, allied to the religious and agrarian griev- 
ances, all constitutional means seemed to have failed. 
Hence all idea of separation was dead, as Mr. Bryce 
himself declared when Chief Secretary. " Those in Ireland 
who desire separation," he said, " are an insignificant 
minority, for the great bulk of the people have the com- 
mon sense to know they must continue linked with Great 
Britain. The idea of a serious movement in favour of 
separation is a mere chimera." The Home Rule move- 
ment had, therefore, become more a set of business pro- 
positions to promote economy and efficiency of adminis- 
tration than any attempt to set up a new nation. It was 
purely and simply a matter of internal reform — a reform 
which all have admitted necessary — in a system which 
none have ever endeavoured to defend. 

What the faults of this most extravagant government 
in the world are, is best told in the words of Lord 
Dunraven, than whom few have stated the case at once 
with more moderation, accuracy or loyalty. There 
are, according to him, sixty-seven departments constitut- 
ing the civil administration of Ireland, through which 

every project has to struggle until it emerges in London 



at the mercy of some Treasury clerk, absolutely out of 
touch with Irish life, and engaged for the most part in 
compiling folios on " the wages of charwomen and the 
price of paint," as he humorously puts it. 

"It is difficult to describe what is commonly called 
Castle government," he writes. " It is easier to say what 
it is not, than what it is. It is not a democratic form 
of government, for the people have nothing to say to it, 
either through some representative machinery in Dublin 
or through their representatives at Westminster. It is 
not despotism, because the Lord Lieutenant has very 
little power. It is not exactly an oligarchy, though a 
small but avaricious section of the community appear 
to think that the country should be run for their benefit 
alone. It is a sort, and a very bad sort, of bureaucracy — 
a government by departments in Ireland, uncontrolled 
by Parliament, uncontrolled by any public body in 
Ireland, and subject only to a department in London. 
It is the most expensive system of government in the 
world. Head for head, the government of Ireland 
costs more than the government of any civilized com- 
munity on the whole face of the earth. Under it there 
is no security whatever against absolute waste and 
misapplication of money — no security against the indirect 
extravagance that arises from money not being spent in 
the best direction or in the wisest way." 

The facts none deny ; nor would anyone pretend to 



justify the system ; like many others, it has become 
hereditary, or rather exists merely by the force of its 
own inherent uselessness and unassailability. But as far 
as public opinion of all classes is concerned, all admitted 
the time was ripe for a great measure of reform. The 
only question that arose with the devolutionists was how 
far it should extend. The proposals of the Irish Reform 
Association were mainly three: (i) To relieve the 
Imperial Parliament of the superabundance of business by 
delegating to an Irish body legislative functions ; (2) To 
secure Irish business being transacted by Irish experts ; 
(3) To employ Irish local talent, knowledge and experience 
in the financial administration of the country. 

The proposals of the Irish Nationalists were that, not 
by " mending, but by ending," was the question of 
bureaucracy to be settled. They wanted a bill to do 
for Irish administration what the Wyndham Act had 
done for land — that is, effect a complete change of 
hands by which the great over-Lord England would be 
none the worse, since it would be rid of work and 
responsibility, while Ireland, the tenant, so to speak, 
would thus be enabled to manage her own affairs with 
more knowledge and interest. The English Liberals were 
on the whole most favourable to this plan, and an in- 
dication of the spirit of conciliation was shown on the 
appointment of the then Chief Secretary, Mr. Bryce, to 

fulfil the duties of English Ambassador in America. It 


From a drawing by iSir Francis C. Gould, Ity kind permission of " The Westminster Gazette," where it appeared 

June 2'Uh, 1907. 


Mr. JOHN REDMOND : " Do I look great and really virile now, Miss Erin ? " 

Miss ERIN : " Shure, Mr. Redmond, and it's trimblin' in their shoes the toyrants will be 
when they see you. And you'll be talkin' to thim in the ould tongue." 

(At a meeting of the National United Irish League in Dublin, on Thursday, June 20th, 1907, a 
resolution was passed calling upon the Irish people " to inaugurate, without further delay, a great 
and really virile movement to win that full national self-government which must be secured before 
the foundation of Ireland's prosperity in the future can be laid.") 

ITo face p. 208. 


was rumoured that the Irish leader was himself offered 
the position thus vacated. At any rate the new Chief 
Secretary was generally understood to be his nominee. 
"There are two men whose opinion on the choice would 
be worth having," wrote Mr. Stead at the beginning of 
1907, " Mr. Redmond and Sir Antony MacDonnell. The 
new Chief Secretary, whoever he may be, ought to 
regard himself as Mr. Redmond's man. Mr. Redmond 
himself ought to be Chief Secretary, but as he is pre- 
cluded from taking the post the Cabinet ought to accept 
Mr. Redmond's nominee and the new Chief Secretary 
ought to do what Mr. Redmond tells him. For Mr. 
Redmond, if Home Rule were granted, would be Prime 
Minister of Ireland." 

The appointment of Mr. Birrell, a great friend of the 
Irish leader, and one than whom few could imagine a 
more genial, just and conciliatory spirit to undertake the 
labours of the reform of Irish government, was the 
signal for a forward movement, and for months all was 
expectancy to know what would be the limit and scope 
of the Liberal party's Irish programme after twenty 
years of exile, endured mostly for their devotion to the 
rights of Ireland to political autonomy. 

When at last, on May 17th, 1907, the Chief Secretary in- 
troduced the long expected measure in the " Irish Councils 
Bill," the House presented a scene not unlike that 
when Gladstone proposed an end to " the hundred years 

209 14 


war " of English politics. The measure had been care- 
fully conceived and moulded by the successive efforts of 
Sir Antony MacDonnell, Mr. Bryce and Mr. Birrell, but 
in scope it was very modest, too modest, perhaps, to be 
worthy of a party which could, at one stroke of generous 
legislation, turn Botha, an armed rebel, into one of the 
most loyal of Imperial Premiers. It merely proposed a 
co-ordination of the chief Castle boards, under a popular 
council, which would be partly elective and partly 
nominated, and which was to have certain powers of 
controlling finance and administration. To those who, 
like John Redmond — that Irish Fabius, as he has been 
called — looked upon it as the culmination of the hopes 
and battles of fifteen years, it must have produced a 
certain feeling of disappointment. It was worthy of a 
better fate, it is true ; much progress might have been 
made in the years since elapsed ; at the same time its 
history bears a marked resemblance to those many 
tentative compromises in the way of higher educational 
facilities and a century of Land Acts, by the constant 
rejection of which a Catholic University and a peasant 
proprietary had been won. 

The House of Commons would be in no way affected 
by it, as the Chief Secretary explained ; but its object 
was of supreme importance as associating the sentiment 
of the Irish people with the conduct of purely Irish 

affairs. If the plan were successful, it could be used as 



an argument for Home Rule ; if not, an argument against 
it. In any case, it would be giving the question a fair 
trial, and, as he went on to point out, it would be 
shocking for anyone to lay down that the Irish were to 
be denied the opportunity of showing themselves fit for 
self-government, on the ground that, should they prove 
their fitness for it, the British people might some day 
grant them Home Rule. 

The House expected an immediate eulogy of the 
concession from the Irish leader. John Redmond was 
perfectly calm : though it could be seeft, spoke with 
obvious emotion. He neither praised nor blamed : 
neither accepted nor rejected. But in this attitude he 
was never more himself. He said he had never addressed 
the House under a heavier sense of responsibility — that 
no one in his position could take upon himself the onus 
of refusing any measure, however small, that would 
remove even one Irish grievance ; but, in any case, the 
Bill should have to await the decision of the Nationa 1 
Convention. Its subsequent rejection on the leader's 
own motion was a tragic end. It was said that he had 
executed a volte-face : and that a little more firmness 
would have made him a statesman. On the contrary, 
the whole incident stamped him as one. In the first 
place, six months before, he had almost foretold his 
action. " When the scheme is produced it will be 
anxiously and carefully examined," he had said. " It will 

211 14* 


be subrtiitted to the judgment of the Irish people, and 
no decision will be come to, whether by. me or by the 
Irish party, until the whole question has been submitted 
to a National Convention. When the hour of that Con- 
vention comes, any influence which I possess with my 
fellow countrymen will be used to induce them to 
reject any proposal, no matter how plausible, which in 
my judgment may be calculated to injure the prestige 
of the Irish party, and disrupt the national movement, 
because my first and my greatest policy, which over- 
shadows everything else, is to preserve a united National 
party in Parliament, and a united powerful organization 
in Ireland, until we achieve the full measure to which 
we are entitled." 

In the second place, nothing could be a better refuta- 
tion of personal autocracy than this attitude, which 
could not by any distortion be looked upon as the 
pronouncement of a "boss." But not only does it show 
the representative character of the party and its depen- 
dence on the voice of the nation, but it also shows the 
independence of that nation. You cannot square Redmond, 
simply because Redmond is the mouthpiece, not the 
ruler, of Ireland. Parnell would have spoken for the 
nation ; Redmond speaks by the nation. He was not 
committed to the Bill ; he simply executed a commission ; 
he had even passed no judgment on it. He had but 

laid the Bill before the Convention like an ambassador 



without in any way coming between the delegates and 
their decision. 

It was not, therefore, that he did not see the great 
advance which such a scheme would mean to the cause 
of Irish autonomy, so much as the fact that he considered 
it a substitutive measure even in the minds of many 
who hitherto had been whole-hearted Home Rulers. 
But for the Devolutionists, he contended, a Home Rule 
Bill would have been proposed instead of the Councils 
Bill. Nor was it that he was averse to compromise ; 
for as a practical politician he could not be opposed 
to considering any scheme on its merits ; but merits 
it must have, and looking at the Bill in detail, he 
thought he discovered many things that might lead 
to antagonism to the party. '' By the constitution of 
this Council it is extremely doubtful to my mind," he 
said, "whether the real feeling of the overwhelming 
mass of the Irish people would be truly reflected 
in a workable majority on the Council, and there the greatest possible danger that the Council 
would constitute a sort of rival body to the Irish 
Nationalist party, which, as I have said, I believe 
to be the greatest weapon, with an organized country 
behind it, which Ireland has in her possession." 

This latter view was probably stronger than any other 

for its rejection. A superficial critic would impute it to 

jealousy ; a business man alone could understand the 



hopeless complication that would arise in having two 
"representative'' bodies claiming to speak for the same 
firm ; and John Redmond, though in no sense a business 
man, has all those organizing instincts which in another 
sphere would have made him one. It was the practised 
politician and organizer who spoke. He saw in the Bill, 
not only a wedge placed between the members of Parlia- 
ment and the nation, but a policy which would only 
make the unanimity of the Irish demand still more 

The wisdom of the immediate rejection of the Bill is, 
of course, open to criticism. The suggestion of Mr. F. H. 
O'Donnell that its rejection was due to the aversion of the 
clergy to lay control in matters of education may not be 
without foundation. That it would have been easy, as Mr. 
O'Brien pointed out, to propose a showier scheme certain 
of rejection is also true ; but how far Lord Dunraven 
was right in maintaining " that if the Bill be lost by 
its summary rejection by the Convention, Ireland would 
receive a heavier blow from her own hands than the 
ingenuity of her enemies could have possibly devised," 
must be judged by subsequent events. The great fact 
remains that it was unanimously rejected as insufficient 
even by some of its warmest admirers. "The Irish 
people," wrote Mr. O'Brien in the case he made out for 
Devolution as a first step to Home Rule, "were the 

sovereign judges of life and death of the Bill. It was 



niggardly enough to be a caricature and an outrage if it 
were really set up as a full satisfaction of the national 
demand for self-government. Those who most deplore 
the action, however, for there was no deliberation, will 
find elements of grandeur in the unworldliness with which 
thousands of excellent Irishmen threw all chance of self- 
government to the winds, under the misunderstanding 
that they would be otherwise compromising the national 
demand for complete government of purely domestic 
affairs by an Irish executive reponsible to an Irish 
government, such as are scattered by dozens over every 
part of the Empire." 

For weeks and months Mr. Redmond's attitude was 
the subject of criticism. In his own party, even, it 
produced no little dissension and no few secessions, 
and was the first rift in the lute. This disagreement 
probably formed the nucleus of the new party of ten 
which was later to be returned under the leadership of 
Mr. W. O'Brien. But by the first months of 1908 the 
points of reunion had been settled and the party plunged 
into the fray with renewed vigour, on the old Parnellite 
principle, of forcing, rather than kissing, the hands 
of the Government. And the further progress of the 
land question and the settlement of the University 
question are a testimony to its efficacy. As to the 
"folly" of the rejection, Mr. Redmond made his apology 
in Dublin in the September following. He said : 



" Now, we did our utmost to extend that Bill and make 
it worth acceptance, at any rate as an instalment ; but 
when we came to the point when we found we could 
get them to go no further in the direction we wanted, 
we felt it our duty to allow the Bill to be introduced 
and to let the Irish people see exactly how they stood 
with reference to this Government. Its production and 
its fate will prove, in my opinion, probably a blessing in 
disguise. Certainly the fate of that great measure has 
shown the Government the impossibility of satisfying 
Ireland with anything short of real Home Rule, and it 
has also made this certain, that Home Rule and not 
Devolution will be the Irish policy put before the electors 
at the next General Election. If that Bill had been 
accepted here as an instalment, and if it had passed, as 
it would have passed, the House of Commons, it most 
undoubtedly would have been rejected by the House of 
Lords, and then it — that is, the Irish Councils Bill — 
would have definitely passed into the programme of the 
Liberal party as their Irish policy, whereas now, after 
what has happened, Home Rule, and whole Home Rule, 
must be the policy of the Liberal party before the 
next General Election." 

Certainly as far as the Prime Minister was concerned 
the prognostication was correct. " Sir Henry Campbell- 
Bannerman was by far the most faithful of the old 

Liberals," as T. P. O'Connor remarks in a sketch of 



the career of that statesman, " and the Irish National- 
ists had an affection for him such as they probably 
never felt for any other Prime Minister before," but 
"The rejection of the Councils Bill produced no es- 
trangement between them and C.-B. Indeed, immedi- 
ately after the return from the fateful Convention in 
Dublin, the Irish leaders who had taken part in the 
Conference with regard to the Bill of the Government 
were agreeably surprised by the cordiality with which 
C.-B. received them. There was no trace of bitterness, 
partly, doubtless, because C.-B. and the Irishmen had 
been united in pressing in vain on the Cabinet — or on 
a section of the Cabinet — the amendments in the 
measure which might have secured its acceptance." In 
fact, it appears that one of the Prime Minister's last acts 
in the House of Commons, the support he gave to a 
motion in favour of Home Rule, was a confirmation of 
the verdict of the Convention. 

It was at first suggested that the Prime Minister 
should propose this Home Rule resolution. As the 
day approached letters passed continually between the 
Premier and the Irish leader, and it was settled that 
the latter should propose the resolution, and that the 
former should wind up the debate with a strong speech 
in its support. As T. P. O'Connor goes on to say, re- 
ferring to Sir H. Campell-Bannerman : 

" This was probably one of the last things he attended 



to in Parliament. On February 13th he was down at 
the House for a short while ; the Irish motion was to 
take place the next week. One of the last men to whom 
he spoke was Mr. Redmond, making the final arrange- 
ments which death alone prevented from completion." 

The final triumph, however, of the policy of John 
Redmond and the National Convention came when on 
the eve of the election campaign, on December 17th, 
Mr. Asquith, whose succession to Sir Henry Campbell- 
Bannerman had been looked upon rather with suspicion 
by the Nationalists, sounded the death knell of Devolu- 
tion, as Mr. T. P. O'Connor put it, by an open avowal 
of the full Gladstonian policy, and the position lost by 
the rejection of the Home Rule Bill of 1893 was re- 
gained in 1909. 

The famous Albert Hall pledge was as follows : 
"Speaking on behalf of the Government, in March 
of last year, a week before my accession to the office 
of Prime Minister, I described Ireland as the one un- 
deniable failure of British statesmanship (cheers). I 
repeat here to-night what I said then, speaking on 
behalf of my colleagues, and I believe of my party, 
that the solution of the problem can be found only in 
one way (cries of " Home Rule " and loud cheers), by a 
policy which, while explicitly safeguarding the supremacy 
and indefeasible authority of the Imperial Parliament, 

will set up in Ireland a system of full self-government 



(loud cheers) in regard to purely Irish affairs (cheers). 
There is not, and there cannot be, any question of 
separation (more cheers) ; there is not, and there cannot 
be, any question of rival or competing supremacies, but, 
subject to those conditions, that is the Liberal policy 

Once more the Liberal party had returned to its 
traditions ; but if it had, and if it had abandoned the 
policy of half measures, Roseberyite and Devolutionist, it 
is due almost entirely to the Parnellite policy of John 

All this while, though apparently on the very eve of 
Home Rule, the party and the policy had been sub- 
jected to the most bitter criticism in Ireland. The 
charges, which, if true, would have justified the driving 
of every member not only from his seat, but from 
Ireland, as Mr. Dillon maintained, were sufficiently 
met by his statement : " The policy of Mr. Redmond 
and the Irish party during the last two years has been 
abundantly justified by the position Home Rule occupies 
at the present moment." Nevertheless, Mr. Redmond 
seemed called upon to give an account of his steward- 
ship, which he accordingly did to his constituents at 
Waterford. He reminded them of the programme 
he had sketched out four years previously. He 
had spoken of the education question : the party 

had given them a great Irish national democratic 



University. He had spoken of the land question : the 
principle of compulsory purchase had been extended to 
nine counties, and even beyond, wherever congestion 
existed, while the restoration of the evicted tenants which 
had also been arranged for, should have taken place 
in 1903 had they had their way. 

The labouring classes, who had been rather overlooked 
during the past twenty-five years, owing to the leading 
position which the farmers' interests had occupied, had 
been advanced four and a half millions, a sum which 
was building some fifty thousand decent labourers' cot- 
tages, to take the place of the old dilapidated hovels, 
while town tenants were protected for the improvements 
on their premises in a way unknown in any of the 
towns of England, Scotland and Wales. True, it was 
not a perfect Bill, but he maintained it had estab- 
lished a principle — and that principle the party intended 
to extend to every township in Ireland ; while they had 
managed to get a fund of ;£■ 180,000, to aid local 
authorities in Ireland in housing the poor, and thus 
by the giving of decent, proper comforts to the poor, 
raise them from that condition of squalor which was the 
real root of all social and moral degradation that existed 
in overcrowded tenements. Again, the party had 
succeeded in getting all the agricultural land exempted 
from Budget taxes, that all the money raised in 

Ireland on such land as has increased in value by the 



action of the community should go to the local authorities 
in Ireland and be used in the interests of the working 

All these he ventured to lay before them as the 
work of four years, and if he were accused of having 
failed to obtain Home Rule, while he had refused the 
Councils Bill, it was only, he explained, because if that 
Bill had not been rejected by the House of Lords, it 
would, at any rate for their lifetime, have become the 
high-water mark of Liberal efforts. 

It is hardly fitting for me to enter into the personal 

contest which took place between Mr. Healy and Mr. 

Redmond during the election campaign of 1910 : but one 

can hardly pass over the words which fell from the 

leader's lips during the fight. " Public life in this country 

is hard owing to such incidents as these," he said, "and 

it is bitter meed to be subjected to attacks of this kind. 

My power for good has been small ; my abilities are 

limited. God knows there is no one who is more conscious 

of his own shortcomings than I am of mine, but I 

know that my motives have been sound and honest. 

I know I have given my best to the service of the 

people of Ireland. When you are tired of me, when 

my colleagues in the House of Commons are tired of 

me, I am quite ready to-morrow to step down and 

out, and if and when that day comes I will humbly 

and loyally do my best to support those who may take 



my place. But never so long as I live will I allow 
myself to be driven out by calumny and abuse." The 
words were sincere, for if ever there was a man who 
deserved loyalty, it is the one who learned to rule by 
having learnt to serve : and if there should ever be a new 
split there is no doubt that the recollection of those 
hard days spent in toil for the resurrection of the 
Parnellite policy will not be forgotten. 

But one cannot help regretting that upon the very 
eve of the triumph that was awaiting that policy 
in Westminster there should have arisen a recurrence 
of that spirit which was worthy of the worst days 
of the split. It is the greater pity because, as Mr. 
Redmond once said at a St. Patrick's Day banquet, 
"the Irish leader is what the loyalty of his followers 
makes him," and there is probably no one who would 
more appreciate the value of such services as those 
of Mr. Healy and Mr. O'Brien in continual attend- 
ance at Westminster if they would give them in the 
way in which John Dillon — one of Mr. Redmond's 
bitterest opponents for ten years — has given his. In 
fact, a certain Nemesis seems to attend the Irish 
leaders. O'Connell was supplanted by the Young Ire- 
landers, Butt was superseded, Parnell hounded to death 
— and quite apart from the point of view of personal 
merits, it must always be remembered that it takes often 

a full decade to make a leader who can command the 



ear and the respect of the House. "The position to 
which I was elected," Mr. Redmond continued, sketch- 
ing out the future policy of the party, "was one of 
great difficulty at any time, but at the time I was put 
into it the difficulties were enormous and unprecedented. 
So far as the Parnell split is concerned, I think I 
have succeeded. I have endeavoured to be patient under 
unjust and ungenerous criticism. I have endeavoured to 
extend toleration to every man. . . I did not hesitate 
to risk my position and my popularity with my country- 
men and my colleagues in order to avoid the neces- 
sity of extreme action against men who were mutineers " 
—then amidst huge applause, the audience rising to 
their feet and cheering, he announced the limits of 
patience — " Whether you elect men hostile to the party 
or whether you do not, you will have in the next Parlia- 
ment a party which if it is not eighty-six — I care not 
whether it is seventy-six or sixty-six — will be a party 
absolutely united, made up of men who are animated 
by a spirit of comradeship and trust." 

Nor was the criticism of the party confined to the 
eader or his methods. The very existence of " Parlia- 
mentarians " is now being undermined by the new Sinn 
Fein movement — an effort to abandon the methods of 
Parliamentary tactics on the very eve of victory — of 
which more later. 

The chief point significant of the Irish leader's attitude 



at the end of the session of 1909, however, was the 
Budget and the veto of the House of Lords. Ireland 
did not like the Budget, it is true ; but as a wit re- 
marked, " Ireland was not going to sell Home Rule for 
a glass of whisky." The remark at first seems super- 
ficial, but it is deeper than it appears, for Ireland could 
never expect to fight the House of Lords on Home 
Rule alone, and that House was the only obstacle to 
Home Rule. "The issue is Home Rule for England," 
as John Redmond remarked at Manchester. Ireland is, 
therefore, taking part in one of the most important 
democratic struggles through which the English Con- 
stitution has had to pass, to say nothing of helping in 
the suppression of a body who for one hundred years 
had steadily opposed the progress of the democracy 
of both countries. 

The Lords had opposed the extension of the 
franchise, the ballot, and three times they had re- 
fused Catholic Emancipation till it was forced upon 
them by the Duke of Wellington as the only 
alternative to civil war. They had been responsible 
for every drop of blood shed in the terrible land war 
by delaying, refusing or distorting every generous 
measure sent up by the Commons. They, and they 
alone — not the people of England — were really hostile to 
Irish self-government, as Mr. Redmond maintained 

and the abolition or the limitation of the veto of the 



House of Lords meant Home Rule for Ireland. It was 
hardly to be expected that England should fight the 
Lords entirely upon an Irish question — thus shelving all 
British questions for several sessions, but once the 
struggle had begun, there was hardly anything more 
important than that Ireland should take her part. 
" Believe me," he continued, " the moment the veto of 
the Lords is abolished or limited, the Home Rule 
question will undergo an entire change — instead of being 
a matter of great controversy, it will then be a matter 
of simply our sitting down quietly and settling the 
details of the meaisure, which will give Ireland full 
control of all purely Irish affairs, and at the ^ame time 
will completely safeguard all Imperial interests in this 
country. To talk about Ireland separating from the 
Empire is the most utter nonsense. We are not asking 
for separation" 

Throughout, it seems as if it is not only the Irishman 
who speaks, but also the English subject — the " House 
of Commons man," to use Mr. Balfour's expression. Mr. 
Redmond looks upon the Lords much in the same way 
as the Long Parliament looked upon the Royal preroga- 
tive — a relic of mediagvalism forfeited by its use in a 
reactionary and purely arbitrary interest. True, he fights 
for Ireland ; but his stand is for Ireland through 
democracy ; and the day will come when it will be re- 
cognized, as Lecky maintained, that no single element 

225 15 


in the House of Commons has been more fruitful in 

influencing the progress of English democracy than the 

Irish party. 

John Redmond's message on the Lords is, therefore, 

war — but only as the last struggle necessary to establish 

perpetual peace between the two countries. He is 

fighting a class to defend an Empire, and the great 

speech at Manchester presented an olive branch from 

Ireland to the English electorate, such as probably finds 

no parallel either in spirit or circumstance in all Irish 

history. Speaking of the separation scare, he said, " Now, 

I say to those men who so distrust us — ' Very well, 

take with these Home Rule measures any guarantees 

that you like to prevent the possibility of Ireland 

immediately raising an army to invade England, to 

prevent the possibility of Ireland immediately raising 

a fleet of Dreadnoughts to sink the British Navy.' 

Let them take any guarantees they like to prevent 

Ireland entering the field of foreign diplomacy so that 

it will be impossible for her to invite the German 

Emperor to come over and make a naval base of 

Belfast Lough. I say to the English democracy in all 

seriousness, what we want is peace between the two 

countries. We have none of those heroic ambitions 

and hare-brained ideas. Our ideas and our ambitions 

are hupibler. We simply want the people to turn the 

energies and abilities which are to-day dissipate^ in 



this horrible racial contest between England and Ireland 
to the prosaic work of advancing the material and moral 
and educational elevation of our own people at home. 
We know that it cannot be done by outsiders. The 
whole history of the Empire shows the same in every 
part of the world. We simply ask for permission quietly 
to attend to our own business in our own way (cheers). 
We say, ' Let there be peace ' (hear, hear). I declare we 
want an end to this war. We want a treaty of peace 
like that treaty of peace which was made by England 
to Botha and De Wet at Vereeniging, and I say with 
all sincerity to the English people, all we want under 
the name of Home Rule is as much freedom in purely 
Irish affairs as they gave the other day in purely 
Transvaal affairs to the Boers (cheers). That concession 
to the Transvaal turned the Boers from bitter enemies 
into fast friends, and, we say, we in Ireland are prepared 
to welcome and accept, and to work in precisely the 
same spirit as the Boers, the concession of Home Rule 
when it comes to us (cheers). That is the supreme 
issue for Irishmen in Great Britain at this election. 
You never — nor your fathers before you — never had 
such a chance as you have now of furthering the 
cause of Home Rule for Ireland." 

Z27 15* 



" IM*^"^ ^^^^ '*■ '^ certain that the balance of power in 
the new Parliament will be in the hands of Mr. 
John Redmond and his followers, it may be as well for 
Englishmen to study the remarkable utterances of that 
not very remarkable man." Such was the opening 
paragraph of an Evening News leader (Jan. 25, 1910) 
entitled " The two Mr. Redmonds." To those who 
know him both politically and socially such phrases 
only provoke a smile, for no one is a more consistent 
thinker than John Redmond. To the writer of the 
article John Redmond typified " Irish blarney " ; in point 
of fact, there are very few Irishmen who have more of 
the serious business instincts of the Englishman than 
Mr. Redmond. In spite of the many garbled quota- 
tions that are circulated, to anyone who has read his 
speeches there is far more redundancy in them than con- 
tradiction. Politically, at least, there is only one John 
Redmond, but if there are two, the other ego is to be 
found in that John Redmond intime who is almost as 

hidden and unknown, and in some respects more so 


Photo i^] 


\_London Stereoscopic Co. 

ITo/acep. 228. 


than was the inner Charles Stewart Parnell. This is the 
real John Redmond, and in him is to be found the ex- 
planation of the other. He tells a story of how Parne 
was once asked what he thought of one of the newly 
elected members of his party. 

" Oh," replied the chief, " a most charming fellow. I 
dined with him the other day at his house. He's a 
first-rate musician, a good host and a splendid dancer." 

" Quite a valuable addition to the party," was a 
friend's reply. 

Parnell's manner instantly changed from eulogy to 
cold disdain, and the genial Parnell became the cynical 
chief, as with a shrug of his shoulders he answered — 

" Oh, politically the fellow's an ass ! " 

I have always thought that the story would be more 
characteristic of Redmond himself, for no one, I think, 
understands better than he the exact parliamentary 
value of a man, and none is more willing to distinguish 
the genial, social friend from the political opponent. It 
is related of Gladstone that he returned from the House 
after the defeat of the Home Rule Bill entirely im- 
mersed in the occupation of counting the passing omni- 
buses. John Redmond has the same power of taking 
his mind off politics. Once he leaves the House, he 
leaves its quarrels and casts aside its atmosphere like a 
cloak. You could hardly even tell he was a politician at 

all. When, for instance, Balfour welcomed him back to 



the House in the lobby after Redmond's term of im- 
prisonment, the meeting between the two was almost 
cordial. Mr. Balfour courteously inquired after the 
other's health. The young member as courteously 
thanked him for the inquiry, and assured him that not 
only had " gaol life " left his health unimpaired, but it 
had not even changed his political opinions, and that he 
was perfectly prepared to repeat the words — even with 
the same result. The smile of affability, however, 
stopped at the Bar of the House. 

This distinction between social and political life is 
probably the reason why, to the general reader, there is 
no more private public man, so to speak, than Mr. 
Redmond. He is an unknown quantity, even to his 
colleagues, and he loves to find rest in the seclusion 
of home life. He does not, for example, entertain 
largely or go about the centre of a large professional 
and social entourage like the great Liberator, leaving 
hundreds of stories and bons mots and witticisms in his 
train. On the contrary, he rarely exerts himself to be 
brilliant socially, merely for brilliancy's sake. The 
biographer will have to search almost in vain, as in 
the case of Parnell, for those personal touches that 
reveal the actual inner man. He behaves for the most 
part rather like a foreign ambassador : he does not 
breathe his secret even " to his own hat," and probably 

he will always remain something of an enigma unless 



he should one day choose to tell his own story in an 
autobiography. There are not wanting, however, a 
thousand sidelights upon his character which help one 
to an estimate of the complete man. 

As with Parnell, so with Redmond, the politician is 
the man. But whereas Parnell gained, Redmond lost by 
politics. Parnell would have remained, as his first speech 
stamped him, a nonentity : Redmond laid aside unused 
great social and professional qualities to become the 
politician. It would form an interesting speculation to 
ask oneself how his undoubted ability would have de- 
veloped in a less severe school than that of Irish politics. 
Had he followed the traditions of the maternal branch 
of the family, he might have become a soldier, like 
General Hoey, his grandfather. That stern and command- 
ing presence of his : that silence and seriousness : that 
power of tactics would no doubt have placed him beside 
that other great Irishman, the late Sir William Butler ; for 
the two have often been compared as personalities, both 
being broad-minded Catholics, ardent patriots and lovers 
of the Empire. But his father's influence seems to have 
prevailed, and he became, therefore, cut out for one of 
the rhetorical or pleading professions. In common with 
most Irish boys, he thought at one time that he had a 
religious vocation, and had he followed it he would 
undoubtedly have become an Irish Jesuit, for he has the 

greatest love of the Jesuit fathers — to whom, as he says, 



both his father, himself and his son owe everything. 

That earnestness of appeal, that almost blind devotion 

to a leader and a cause, that clearness of judgment 

and ardour of heart, would probably have made its 

mark in any Catholic pulpit, while his courteousness 

of manner and grave tolerance would not have ill suited 

the purple of an Irish Cardinal. 

The second of the great pleading professions was at 

first expected to be his career. It is now many years 

since he withdrew his wig and gown from the library of 

the Four Courts in Dublin ; but the long rows of dusty 

Statutes that adorn his humble library show that he 

intended seriously practising at one time. For many 

years, indeed, he did practise, but for the most part 

politics seem to have absorbed him. He left Trinity 

before he had taken his degree to devote himself to 

parliamentary work, and he left Dublin before he had 

finished his full law course. He had been round the 

world before he was finally called to the English Bar at 

Gray's Inn. During those early years, between 1887 and 

1893, the briefs, it may be mentioned, came in pretty 

regularly, and he appeared as counsel in one notable 

case in which Messrs. Dillon and O'Brien were prosecuted 

by the Government for conspiracy. But the duties of 

championing Parnell which fell upon him, followed by 

the leadership of the Independents, after the chief's 

death,"" compelled him to make a choice between the 



pleasant duties of a remunerative career and the — shall 
I call it thankless ? — task of politics. But if he chose 
the latter as a life work, it was not because he was a 
man of affluent means. It was rather because of a 
fervour for practical patriotism, which in him amounted 
almost to a religion ; and it is in this that is to be found 
the key to all his life. He was a patriot before he was a 
politician : he will always be a politician, because he will 
always be a patriot. 

Politics and religion with John Redmond are as 
one, knit strong and welded together. That is to 
say, he believes that if religion is to mean anything 
more than a mere useless theological astronomy to 
mankind it ought to be a motive force for the better- 
ment of the conditions in which men have to live. 
There can be no more sacred thing than the love of 
one's country, and Nationalism is to him the breaking 
down of those obstacles which stand in the way of the 
natural development of a race according to its own 
special needs and genius. As in religion, so in politics. 
He believes that development must be autonomous, and 
he as fiercely resents coercion as the freedom-loving 
modern resents the ancient tortures of the Inquisition. 
Races do not exist for an empire, but an empire for 
races. Unity must be synonymous with mutual protec- 
tion, not with alien possession. And if a reason is sought 
for that whole-hearted business regularity with which he 



devotes almost every hour to politics, it will be found, 
not in a mere love of notoriety — surely the most unre- 
liable stocks that ever mian invested in ! — but in a profound 
and unshakable conviction that, in serving his country 
he is fulfilling the highest work a man can perform. As 
in many an Irish cottage the picture of Robert Emmet 
forms the companion to that of the Blessed Virgin on 
the domestic mantelpiece, so in the heart of the Irish 
leader religion and politics are the twin principles that 
rule his life. 

In this religious earnestness, moreover, is to be found 
the genesis of those occasional disloyal sentiments of his, 
those phrases which so offend pious Tory ears. As a 
matter of fact, he is no disloyalist, but, at the same time, 
his loyalty is not of the " Mafeking " order. " Anything 
but unqualified loyalty," he wrote upon the Queen's 
visit to Dublin, "would be an insult — anything else 
would be a lie." And if it is true that on April 13th, 
1905 — to again quote the same Evening News article 
— John Redmond said that : " If he believed there was 
the smallest reasonable chance of success he would have 
no hesitation in advising his fellow-countrymen to arm 
and overthrow the present system by armed revolt," it 
simply means that he is not one of those who hold 
that all the liberties in the world are not worth the 
shedding of a single drop of blood ! Could a man 
conscious of liis country's wrongs say less? But these 



are sentiments which are generally modified by the next 
sentence, and are rather a Hterary way of emphasizing 
the seriousness of the wrong than an actual incitement to 
revolt. In fact, they are often the rhetorical manner of 
expressing the futility of arms ; but — let them stand by 
themselves — no English patriot could say less were the 
positions reversed. Such " indiscretions " must not be 
lightly passed over ; but they must be read objectively. 
And perhaps no better apology could be cited for them 
than that which Mr. Gladstone himself made for the so- 
called general " indiscretions " of Irish politicians : 

" I am aware it may be truly said there was a time 
when the grievous recollections and traditions of Ireland, 
the dreadful sufferings and the apparent hopelessness of 
obtaining from Parliament any consideration for the 
capital desires of Ireland did sway some men off the 
precise line of absolute wisdom. And this led some of 
them to use, from time to time, expressions which I, for 
one, have never thought it necessary to treat as involv- 
ing moral delinquency, and for which I have found 
ample explanation in the conditions and the circum- 
stances under which they spoke, and which stand in 
most favourable comparison with the means which had 
been habitually employed by the overpowering might of 
England and by the ascendency party in Ireland." 
" But," he goes on to note, " no more language of 
disaffection towards this country has been used since 



the door of Hope was opened." The admission is both 
just and generous, and though it hardly applies to John 
Redmond, it certainly exhibits an attitude of mind 
which is worthy of imitation : for it will be found that 
there are few expressions of the Irish leader which 
have not some objective justification and without which 
the whole-hearted sincerity of the man would be com- 
pletely lost in the picture. 

Perhaps, however, the ardour of his patriotism is due 
to the literary development of his character, for as he 
was a patriot before a politician, so he was a poet 
before he was a patriot. Perhaps some future bio- 
grapher may give to the world the contents of those 
well-filled pencilled notebooks of University days, but 
politics are hardly a congenial school for the Muses, and 
the hopes of his old poetry master at Clongowes have, 
at least in this direction, been quite unrealized, though 
nothing has been more potent as an inspiration. 
Redmond is probably one of the only men from whom 
the House will stand poetry. Unlike Parnell, who only 
quoted a verse once — from one of Moore's " Melodies," 
the line, in reference to Ireland, " First flower of the 
earth and first gem of the sea" — and then used the 
word "jewel" for "gem"! — he is always quoting lines 
from Shakespeare, as, for example, in the peroration to 
his famous Home Rule speech, where he compared the 
Bill to the toad which, "ugly and venomous, wears 



yet a precious jewel in his head. " On one occasion he 
not only surprised the House by reciting a whole stanza 
of " Hiawatha," but he was himself surprised that the 
House stood it : they would have stood it from very 

The reason, of course, is that modern oratory is in- 
variably unemotional, and Professor Bell's old pupil 
has something of the old school about him, which 
has earned for him the title of "the last of the 
parliamentary orators of the line of Burke." But even 
he has not escaped the cynical influence of the times, 
and his latter-day speeches read very differently to those 
with which he was wont so greatly to move his Austra- 
lian, and New York audiences thirty years ago. Yet 
deep in his mind there still lingers the remembrance of 
those numberless passages from Shelley and Byron and 
Wordsworth upon which his soul browsed in the days 
of his youth. And often when talking to this new 
generation he notes with regret, not to say bitterness, 
the gradual abandonment of poetry as a factor in edu- 
cation — an element far more effective in the building up 
of character than mathematics, and he would himself 
probably find it far easier to turn out a very readable 
volume of English verse than pass the " Little Go," were 
he called upon to do so. 

He is above all a man of soul : he is a Celt in mind. 
The English spirit is too cold and commercial for him, 



and it is probably for this reason that he displays 
such an uncompromising, whole-hearted hostility to the 
Anglicizing of Irish thought. He is an enthusiastic 
Gaelic Leaguer. His own children were taught Irish. 
He is a keen admirer of Irish art, and a jealous upholder 
of the distinctiveness of Irish genius. But it is only 
because he believes there is objective value in the racial 

He has not that extreme anti-English bitterness 
which characterizes some Irishmen, probably for the 
same reason in literature as in politics, that, as the 
Irish sword has built the Empire, so in like manner 
Irish pens have taken their full share in the erection 
of that proud empire of thought which is known as 
English literature. He believes in Irish literature, but 
he is not of that movement which would seek to 
disown the tongue of Swift, O'Connell and Burke. 
He is not one of those who, to use a Hiber- 
nianism, believe that Ireland's future is behind her. The 
revival of Irish as a spoken language he is in agreement 
with, heart and soul. In the " Intermediate '' examinations 
he got it placed upon a level with the classics, but he 
would be one of the staunchest opponents of any attempt 
to substitute it for the classics, much less to extinguish 
root and branch the hated Saxon tongue in Ireland. 
His mind is progressive, not retrospective, and if he 
returns to past Irish history it is only that none of the 



gems of Irish genius should be lost in Ireland's con- 
tribution towards modern art and modern thought in 
the future. 

If, therefore, he is opposed to the " Anglicizing " 
influences at work in Dublin and other cities, it is 
because he recognizes that it is changing the whole 
character of the Irish race. He sees in the spirit of 
the " musical comedy '' and the " variety stage " symbols 
of a vulgarity and lack of artistic sense which is swiftly 
killing the soul of the nation by extinguishing all love 
of country and history. An Irish family who prefer to 
sing the latest English pantomime inanities in the 
drawing-room to the glorious Irish Melodies of Moore, 
is to him the signal of that insidious advance of 
decadence against which, as one of the older men, his 
soul revolts, and this is only one of the reasons he 
thinks nothing but a native parliament and residential 
aristocracy can make Dublin and Ireland what it was 
before the Union, a centre of literary thought and 

Here, too, his hatred of England is objective and not 
personal. England, he holds, has in many respects 
inferior manners and ideas. He denounces them. But 
England has also great leaders and strong men, and 
these he reverences, even as he reveres the idols of 
England's past. For example, there are few Irishmen 
living who possess a greater devotion to Shakespeare 



than John Redmond. But he has a tremendous pride of 
race, and he feels that amid all the sneers cast at 
Ireland, it is the duty of Irishmen to let the merits of 
their race shine forth in every sphere of English life, 
and that is why it is with feelings of despair he sees the 
abandonment of all those native enthusiasms which formed 
the superiority of so many Irish statesmen, poets and 
soldiers in the past. 

And no better example could be given of that 
Irish capacity when placed on the level of a com- 
mon public life and literature than the enthusiasm 
with which Oxford acclaimed him at the height 
of his reputation. For at the modern University they 
regarded him much in the same way as the dons of the 
eighteenth century would have looked upon another 
Irishman, Edmund Burks, the greatest of the orators of 
their day. 

It was said that many of the academic critics were 
prepared to question his parliamentary reputation. John 
Redmond evidently rose to the occasion, for on that 
auspicious visit to Oxford he by far excelled his usual 
House of Commons manner. Indeed " The Champion of 
Ireland, in good times and in bad," as he was called, 
created a perfect furore even among the most cynical. 
There were storms of applause before he had spoken 
a single word, and when the result of the debate at 
the Union was announced the enthusiasm was such as 



had never been seen before, and Tory Oxford was filled 
with Home Rule converts ! 

" It was a memorable debate," wrote the Oxford 
Magazine, for June, 1907. '' Mr. Redmond's speech was 
thrilling, and the result of the division sensational. We 
had prophesied that Mr. Redmond would win, but we 
had thought of a majority nearer 33 than 133: such a 
majority is the highest compliment that could possibly 
be paid to Mr. Redmond. It is doubtful if the Union 
has ever heard or ever will hear again a speech which 
will have such influence on its hearers." 

A rather good estimate from the pen of Mr. W. M. 
Crook — who, as we have seen, had already met him in 
Dublin when they were law students together at the Inns 
— may be included as coming from another source, and 
discounting what Punch calls "my Uncleism." 

" One of the qualities," he wrote, " which, I think, has 

brought Mr. Redmond to his present position is the fact 

that he is a loyal friend. One day, during the General 

Election of 1886, I went into the Irish headquarters in 

London, then located in Palace Chambers, Westminster 

Bridge Road, to see Mr. J. T Clancy about a meeting I 

was about to address that evening. John Redmond was 

there. ' Look here,' he said to me, ' you are the very 

man I want. George Russell has a meeting this evening 

at Fulham. Very reluctantly I was compelled to fight 

against him last year. I want to do everything I can 

241 16 


to help him to get in this year. It is quite impossible 
for me to speak for him to-night. You have only one 
meeting and I want you to go.' 

" I went. Mr. Russell, whom I did not then know, 
was unable through indisposition to be present. His 
place was taken by his father, a noble specimen of the 
stately, courteous English aristocrat. As I chatted to 
that splendid old man, the soul of chivalry and honour, 
I realized why John Redmond was so anxious for the 
son's success. The Irish leader is a supreme judge of 

" John Redmond's capacity for loyalty to his friends 
is second only to his loyalty to his country. An 
incident that occurred last session illustrates both char- 
acteristics. It was a very busy session for the Irish 
Party ; four days a week the Irish leader was in the 
House for twelve hours a day, from noon till midnight. 
Naturally his Wednesday evenings were therefore pre- 
cious. One of the Irish organizations in the metropolis 
had asked me to lecture for them, and they asked John 
Redrnond to preside. No other leader of the party in 
the House of Commons worked so hard : none other 
would have come. But John Redmond came. 

" The subject was Ireland's contribution to civilization. 

Mr. Redmond, who seemed rather wearied, spoke only a 

few minutes. But in that brief space he revealed his 

passionate admiration for the great dead past of the 



race of which he was the world-wide figure-head, the 
uncrowned king. 

"There is no mere apology, only burning pride, in 
what John Redmond had to say of the civilizing 
movement which covered Western Europe with seats of 
learning and which has bequeathed to after genera- 
tions artistic monuments like the matchless Book of 
Kells. He closed with a few words of hearty appre- 
ciation for the work the young men are doing in the 
Party league. For John Redmond always appeals to 
young men, alike to the cultured youth of Oxford and 
the more fiery spirits of Mayo or Chicago. 

"When I first met Mr. Redmond" (the fact is worth 

noting, by the way) " I was more or less of a Separatist. 

He made me an Imperialist. I do not use the word to 

designate an admirer of the gorgeous orientalism of 

Benjamin Disraeli, nor yet a follower of the narrowly 

insular policy of an uneducated Birmingham tradesman. 

John Redmond knew the Empire. His wife was an 

Australian, and even when I first met him he had been 

round the world. The great free communities, Canada, 

Australia, New Zealand, and even the United States, 

were to him in large part Irish estates. Irish blood 

and Irish brains had helped them to freedom and to 

prosperity. It was a new point of view to us. I do 

not speak with authority, but I do say with some 

confidence that never, while John Redmond is leader, 

243 16* 


will the Irish Party consent to be deprived of their 
rightful share in the government of their Empire." 

This last remark is worth noting for the peculiarly 
new aspect in which it places the Irish question both 
from an English and an Irish point of view. From an 
English point of view it teaches us that in every part 
of the Empire another Ireland has arisen, one in heart 
and sympathy with the Old Country, just as the English 
Colonists are in touch with England. Emigration has 
not rid England of a turbulent population, like the 
voluntary exile of Sarsfield. It has merely trans- 
planted and spread the discontent into soil hitherto 
free from it. 

The Irish element in the Colonies is everywhere a 
factor to be reckoned with — municipal elections in 
Sydney are fought on the Home Rule question. And 
those who speak of the loyalty of the Colonies will do 
well to remember also the independence of those same 
Colonies, which is not a little fostered and fanned by 
the hereditary instincts which the children of starving 
emigrants have brought over from Ireland. A politician 
would perhaps pass it over in scorn ; not so a states- 
man, and though many may question the fact of Lord 
Mountjoy's statement (I think) that America was lost 
by Irish emigrants, it is perfectly true that the great 
mass of Anglophobe literature and sentiment in the 

United States to-day is due almost entirely to the Irish 



element, and the possible disloyalty of the Colonies 
might some day come from a like source. 

At the same time, from the Irish point of view it 
raises an entirely new set of problems to those raised 
by what one might term the Little Irelanders, those 
who narrow the Irish question to the transformation of 
College Green from a commercial to a legislative centre, 
and think that the millennium is to arrive the day the 
flag on Dublin Castle changes its colour to green. The 
Home Rule question is an Imperial question, and will 
always remain so. If Grattan spoke truly when he 
said "The sea denies us union, but the ocean denies us 
separation," it is a thousand times more true now that 
Irish names and Irish blood have mingled with every 
English-speaking race upon the face of the globe and 
rendered the return of all the emigrants back to Ireland 
a physical impossibility, just as the return of the Jews 
to Palestine. Nevertheless, in character, in thought, in 
politics, in everything, in fact, that constitutes nationality 
apart from a geographical situation, even the most ex- 
treme patriot would never dream of attempting what, if 
logically carried out, would lead not only to a separation 
of the two mother countries, but to a division of every 
commercial centre in England and every colony abroad. 
A moderate, rational policy of Home Rule is the only 
one upon which it can be hoped to found a world-wide 
Empire securely, and of that moderate and rational policy 



there is no better and more sincere representative than 
John Redmond. He alone of the various sections of 
Home Rulers seems to put forward a solution at the 
same time consistent with national aspirations and with 
unalterable facts. 

A further quotation from Mr. Crook shows another 
aspect of his character. 

" Strong Nationalist as he is, John Redmond has that 
touch of cosmopolitanism that is peculiarly Irish and is 
notably wanting in the average Englishman. A strict 
puritanical training has prevented me from becoming a 
frequent visitor to the theatre ; on one of the rare 
occasions on which I have broken through this rule I 
went to see the 'Divine Sarah' play Hamlet in Paris. 
John Redmond occupied the stall immediately behind 
mine. A few days later we met in a carriage on the 
Underground in London and discussed the performance. 
No one who has heard the Irish leader quote Shake- 
speare can ever forget it. As he analysed the inter- 
pretation by the greatest actress of our time of 
Shakespeare's immortal creation, or criticized the nuances 
of the original that had been lost in translation, I was 
compelled to say to myself, 'Why, Hamlet is as real a 
person for you as is Arthur Balfour.' This land 
agitator, barrister, politician, statesman, whose eloquence 
had compelled the mother of Parliaments to an un- 
willing silence, had captivated the youth of Oxford and 



of Ireland, and on whose words vast crowds in three 
continents had hung, is a student and interpreter of 
Shakespeare greater than most of our professors of 
English literature, because he understands men. 

5' I have written far more than I intended because it is 
so hard to convey^^ what is unintelligible to many, the 
reason why John Redmond is where he is. Fifty years 
hence it will not seem, as it does to-day, the language 
of friendly exaggeration to write that politically John 
Redmond is the lineal descendant of his great country- 
man Edmund Burke. But the passion for freedom and 
the passion for justice are the guiding stars of both." 

There is yet another estimate of the character of 
John Redmond as the successor of Parnell which, I 
think, ought not to be passed over in silence. For, 
though expressing a view, perhaps, at one time partially 
correct, it can no longer be accepted as final. I refer 
to the estimate of Mr. Herbert Paul. 

Speaking of the fall of Parnell, he says : " It was the 
Church of Rome and no individual that really succeeded 
Parnell in Ireland. Rome Rule came, not as the 
accompaniment of Home Rule, but as the alternative to 
Parnellism. The Church of Rome neither forgives nor 
forgets. His (Parnell's) successor, a man of great 
parliamentary capacity, was a Catholic, one of those 
liberal Catholics who had been educated at Trinity 
College. But in Ireland Mr. Redmond's influence was 



at that time very small. His own Church condemned 

him. Once more, apparently for an indefinite period, 

the Irish priest resumed his sway. How far this change 

or reaction was for the better, and how far for the worse, 

it is not the business of a secular historian to decide. 

Of the fact there can be no doubt. Mr. McCarthy and 

Mr. Redmond were symbols of the two powers which, 

since the days of Guelphs and Ghibellines, have divided 

the Catholic world. In England Mr. McCarthy would 

have had no chance, for a mere hint of the revival of 

priestcraft would have buried the divorce in oblivion. 

In Ireland Mr. Redmond was foredoomed to failure. 

So long as he remained at the head of a group calling 

itself Parnellite, the priests could point at him as a 

rebel against the authority of the Church, the principles 

of religion and the sanctity of the home." 

The criticism is not without foundation, but, though it 

is true that during the years of the split this description 

of the attitude of Mr. Redmond might have been 

correct, it is the very reverse to-day, for the anti-clerical 

Press speaks of him as the "priest's man" par excellence. 

But it is rather the clergy who have changed. The 

truth is that he is above all things a layman, and that 

he seeks, as a politician, to establish the two orders 

each in its proper sphere of independence. He has 

been accused and acclaimed as a second O'Connell, a 

second Clemenceau ; in truth he is neither. O'Connell 



would have headed an enthusiastic deputation of Irish 
members at the London Eucharistic Congress ; Clemen- 
ceau would have written " Paraguay on Shannon." John 
Redmond did neither, and during the whole controversy 
which raged round the Education Bills, though assuring 
the English Catholics of every protection, he is always 
very careful not to compromise the political ideals of the 
party which he leads, which are absolutely unsectarian 
while retaining religion in its sphere of individualism — 
protected from bigotry and injustice. 

In religion he is himself a strict Roman Catholic, and 
when in London, every Sunday he is to be seen at Mass 
at the church in Kensington High Street. Whenever 
any measure of practical Catholic importance is before 
Parliament he is always spokesman. If there is a ques- 
tion of altering the King's Declaration, there are few 
more keen than he, or if, as in 1903, some Benedictine 
monks are expelled from France and all their goods 
confiscated, they may be confident of finding in John 
Redmond a champion who can defend them, or any 
other Catholic interests, with a strong hand. But there 
is nothing of the theologian about him, and when he 
speaks for Catholics in the House of Commons, it is 
rather as one urging the great political maxim of fair 
play against the ultra-Protestant prejudice of some bigot, 
than as an exponent of dogma or doctrine. The in- 
tellectual side of Catholicism is to him an absolute blank, 



He is far too peremptory and practical in mind to be able 
to appreciate those niceties of thought, those shades of 
meanings, those clashings of dogmas, those contradictions 
between religion and science, which make Catholicism a 
philosophy. There is more of the Roman than the 
Greek about him. For example, quite apart from an 
aesthetic love of the general contour and appearance 
of the Church, he would have nothing in common with 
Wilfrid Ward or Dr. Barry : while the philosophical or 
psychological side of the great problems on the foun- 
dations of religious thought, such as Tyrrell treated of, 
are to him an unknown quantity. Newman he admires 
for the general principles laid down, say, for example, 
on University education or political economy, and 
quotations will be found in his speeches anent that very 
remarkable man. Manning, too, would also find an 
ardent admirer in him, becaxise of his broad Irish and 
human sympathies ; but perhaps the fervid eloquence of 
Father Tom Burke would be his favourite. He looks 
upon the Church as a great organism which, from the 
sacredness of its purpose and the sanctity of its officials, 
deserves the respect and reverence of the layman, and 
he leaves all questions of doctrine and discipline to 
those experts ; and he is typically Irish in condemnation 
of all breaches of Church discipline. 

In home life and in his tastes generally he is a man 

of frugal habits. He cares not for the ostentation of 



public life, and when once he can retire from the 
searchlight and the stage of action, he loves, like Parnell, 
to spend the days in peace and tranquillity, free from 
the thousand and one annoyances that beset a man in 
his position. His chief sport is grouse shooting, and he 
still keeps up the genial house parties at Parnell's old 
shooting lodge at Aughavanagh — one of the old barracks 
which were built shortly after '98 as a sort of military 
cordon round the Wicklow Hills, which afforded them 
ample security from the rebels. The main block is still 
in a state of good preservation, the wings are almost in 
ruins ; but the situation is magnificent and the place 
literally breathes legends, while the old prison, the loop- 
holes and small fortifications surmounting the earth- 
works, and the secret passage which gives a hollow ring 
all down the centre of the lawn till it emerges among 
the brambles of a hedge outside the walls, serve to add 
an air of romance to it and greatly interest the many 
Americans, Australians, and others who make up the 
August or winter parties. 

There, surrounded by his family, he spends the 
summer months, recruiting his health after the long toil 
of the past session and preparing for the next. The 
days are generally spent upon the hills, while, in the 
evening, a quiet hour with his books, or perhaps a 
genial fireside conversation, will occupy him, with some- 
times billiards or some other indoor game for the sake 



of the more youthful members of the party. Or, again, 
perhaps Mrs. Redmond may prevail upon her husband 
to recite some of the many passages from his favourite 
authors. And in this he is inimitable, for Mr. Redmond 
has been an accomplished reciter since his college days, 
and is never tired of urging upon the younger generation 
the importance of effective delivery, as well as the 
beauty of the old school of Irish poets of the day of 
Moore or Davis. 

His strenuous London life leaves but scant time for 
such recreations. But if there is anything of interest on 
the London stage, any Friday or Saturday may see 
him with his wife in the stalls of a theatre. Generally 
the finer mornings are spent riding in the Park, and 
Mr. Redmond is a well-known figure in the Row. But 
as soon as the House meets the Irish leader is in his 
place, if he has not been already a couple of hours at 
Westminster over some private party business. The 
week-ends are often spent out of London, while the 
shorter holidays, such as Easter or Whitsuntide, are 
sometimes spent abroad, in Germany, Italy, France or 

John Redmond has married twice, and he loves his 
home and his family. He has three children. The 
eldest, a daughter, Esther, was married about two years 
ago to a promising young New York doctor, Mr. 
W. Power. His second daughter, Johanna, is verj?^ 



accomplished and possesses a facile pen. A few years 
ago she produced privately one of her plays in London 
and no doubt some of her more mature work will see 
the boards of the new Irish Theatre in Abbey Street, 
Dublin. Like her father, and like his sister, the late 
Mrs. Howard, she has a pronounced poetic sense, and 
her poems are occasionally to be seen in the Irish- 
American and Australian Press, as also are her clever 
short stories. 

His only son, William, is now arrived at man's estate. 
He passed through the Royal University of Ireland 
and is at the present moment completing his education 
for the Irish Bar. When my mother died, leaving 
me an orphan, I was taken into his house as one 
of his own children, with a kindness and magnanimity 
which did for me all that a father could have done 
for the education of his own son, and never in the merest 
detail, whether in college pocket-money or in the numbers 
of riding lessons, was the least distinction made between 
me and my cousin, and I have always retained, after 
these many years, the pleasant memory of that — " What- 
ever Willie has, Louis must have too," as one of the 
most charming personal touches which revealed to me 
the essential note of justice which lies at the basis of his 
character. And though it is a strange metamorphosis 
by which one comes to look upon a man who stood 
in loco parentis purely from a political and literary stand- 



point, perhaps it is not without value in a personal 
estimate like this, which, provided one has been 
sufficiently mentally weaned to distinguish the parental 
from the intellectual faculties, must gain at least in 
completeness of outlook. 

But even in home life, though there was always a cer- 
tain relaxation, there ever remained' that predominant 
note of almost military sternness. 

Redmond was described the other day by Frank Dil- 
not as one of the most serious men in the House and 
one whom he had never heard make a joke. Such a 
description, of an Irishman without a sense of humour, 
amounts almost to an accusation ; but it is quite true. 
Redmond is too sincere and in earnest to be gifted with 
any very strong sense of humour. His brother, William, 
is one of the wits of the House, with his never-ending 
questions and incisive asides. But the picture of John 
Redmond in one of the smoking-rooms surrounded by 
a group of laughing Liberals and Conservatives would be 
hard to conceive. He has none of that hilarious joviality 
of the proverbial Pat. He cannot with serious and 
almost tragic tone keep the House in roars, like Mr. 
Healy ; but his comparison of Lord Rosebery to the 
Duke of Plaza Toro, and the comparison of Mr. Healy 
to the excommunicated political Jackdaw of Rheims, is 
not without a touch of the Celt ! For the most part, 
however, the humour is unconscious, as when, for 



example, he turned upon an interrupting laugh with the 
words, " I hear the honourable member smile," or when 
some rather complicated metaphor gets entangled, as 
when he once remarked that, "Though the leaf might 
be torn from the annals it would still bear fruit ! " or, 
again, when, by the merest lapsus linguae, in the middle 
of a panegyric on the heroism of the two Boer republics, 
in a tone of passionate entreaty for mercy, he suddenly 
electrified the House' by calling them "Grey-bearded old 
burglars " — instead of burghers. But he is not imper- 
vious to wit. 

He enjoys as much as anyone the sayings and bans 
■mots of Father Healy of Bray, or the weekly Punch, 
but for the most part it is the wit of Dickens or 
the " Ingoldsby Legends," or Gilbert and Sullivan's 
operas which he respects. There are few, probably, 
who enjoy the Rivals or the School for Scandal more 
than he — and he will often read the whole play aloud on 
a winter's evening, surrounded by his family. The wit 
of Charles Lever, Samuel Lover, the boisterous stage 
Irishman with "green whiskers and a pig," is to him 
painful, because nothing has done more than such writers' 
exhibitions to degrade the Irish character in the eyes of 
public opinion. But he loves the charming repartee of 
the Irish peasant and will listen with a kind of pride 
of race to the brilliant flashes that will illuminate the 
peasant's narrative as compared with that of the average 



English farmer. But, on the whole, there is no 
gainsaying the fact that Mr. Redmond is abnormally 

As to his resemblance to his brother, I must confess 
I have never seen two men more absolutely dissimilar. 
The one is silent, reserved, calculating and consistent ; 
the other conversational, spontaneous and impulsive in 
policy. The House, in question time and in witty inter- 
ruptions and asides, counts the younger brother as one 
of its characters : the elder brother but seldom speaks, 
however, and never jokes. 

Hence, when upon Queen Victoria's visit to Dublin 
the illustrated papers circled round the smoking-rooms of 
the House, showing Mr. Willie Redmond's hall door 
painted in the colour and design of a gorgeous Union 
Jack, and told of the scores of tourists in cars continually 
driving up to see these phenomenal decorations, the 
humour of the situation was enjoyed by everyone know- 
ing the man ; it would have lost half its point had it 
been played on his brother. There is often more ardour 
than argument in the younger Redmond's speeches: in 
those of his brother there is often far more suppressed 
emotion than visible expression. Again, the style of 
diction as well as the mode of delivery are more 
declamatory in the one, more objective and reasoned in 
the other. At the same time, there is in both the same 

sense of patriotism, the same religious fervour, the; s^me 



hatred of English misrule : the only difference being that 
in one it is more developed through sentiment, in the 
other more intellectual; and the characteristics which 
distinguished them as boys still stamp them as men, 
and in this they are not untypical of the two classes of 

What, then, to sum up, can we say distinguishes the 

man ? Wherein lies his power ? In the first place, the 

man distinguishes the leader from the former leaders. 

He is to a great extent similar, to a great extent 

dissimilar, to the former leaders. His policy is the 

same, his personality different. He has not the same 

florid-fierce oratory of the Liberator : he has more of 

the quiet persuasiveness of Butt. He has all the 

hatred of English misrule of Grattan, without any of 

the personal bitterness of Parnell. He controls with 

power and dexterity the organizations that made Parnell 

supreme, without having the originality of mind that 

created him. He is a Catholic like O'Connell, but he 

has all the broad-mindedness of Protestant Grattan. 

He has all the power of the priests behind him, 

without being himself their tool : for like Parnell 

before him, he believes in the limits of clerical power. 

He has all the polished manners of Isaac Butt without 

any of his weakness. He may not inspire the same 

enthusiasm that brought thousands upon thousands to 

hear the speeches of the Liberator round the Hill of 

257 17 


Tara : but he has probably wider knowledge of the 
world than any of his predecessors and has received the 
welcome of the scattered Gaels from many more lands. 
He uses the agitation necessary to make him a power, 
without any of the ostentation that would merely make 
him a danger. 

The secret of his power lies probably in his sense of 
moderation in thought and self-restraint in action, com- 
bined with an impenetrable personality which has only 
to be seen to be respected. In fact, there are probably 
few Irishmen who have impressed the House more with 
their absolute sincerity and unquestioned capability — 
and as a man he is probably more liked than any of 
his predecessors. There is a certain " Englishness '' about 
him which appeals to the more sober-minded. He uses 
words in a rational sense and is never carried away by 
waves of emotion. He is no business man, but he has 
all those qualities which would have created one : he 
is no enthusiast, but he has all those passions which, 
if less regulated, would have made him one: and this 
is what the House respects. 

A good picture is given by Mr. Frank Dilnot. 

" Banish from your mind, in thinking of Mr. Red- 
mond, the picture of the carelessly-dressed, merry 
Irishman, with a strong brogue and a merry quip for 
any situation. Here is a stern man between fifty and 

sixty years of age, perfectly dressed, carrying himself 



with the dignity of a Gladstone. An Irishman's fun 
may lurk deep within Mr. Redmond's breast, but it is 
not observable. From his appearance he might be a 
well-to-do City man who will stand no nonsense It 
is quite obvious that he is not a person with whom 
the frivolous could jest with impunity: he carries the 
air of the grand statesman of the past generation." 

His power rests, like Parnell's, in a certain aloofness 
of disposition and a hauteur of mind. He is open to 
conviction, but once he has made up his mind it is 
like the steeling of iron : he does not argue, he insists. 
He does not submit an academic thesis, he imposes 
terms. He will not be led astray among the side 
issues of dispute : he retains the central idea of the 
proposition. He does not talk often or waste his time 
over trifling points, so that when he rises to speak the 
House knows there is something it ought to hear. 

Above all, he knows the House perfectly. He knows 
its moods and its men. He does not pin his faith to 
Governments ; but he does believe in the members as 
a body. This is probably why it has been said that 
organization and opportunity have been the two things 
in his mind for a generation. He has played a chess- 
man's game trying to keep his party together among 
themselves and with their electorate, and has struck 
blow after blow at opportune moments. He knows the 
limits of the concessions of Cabinets, and when they 

259 17* 


have been reached no simple gratitude will make him 
keep them in office. Neither the Local Government 
Act of Balfour nor the Land Transfer Act of Wynd- 
ham were accounted unto them for righteousness when 
the Unionist party had reached their end. He knows the 
value of a lobby conversation with eighty votes in his 
pocket, but perhaps the best tribute to his capacities is 
the position which he holds to-day and the position to 
which he has raised Home Rule. He is a strong indi- 
vidualist while at the same time condemning indi- 
vidualism. He believes one brain should actuate one 
organism, not because he believes in that modern 
dogma, the infallibility of majorities, so much as because 
he believes in their practical efficacy ; and if at the pre- 
sent time he condemns the attitude of opposition taken 
up by Messrs. O'Brien and Healy, it is only because 
their attitude saps the very foundations of that strength 
and power which a united nation confers upon its 




^17"HEN every other form of argument against the 

demands of the Irish leader fail, people usually 

have recourse to a denunciation of his tactics, and so 

his tactics often occupy a more prominent place in public 

criticism than either his objects or their motives. Hence 

no sketch of the man could be complete which did not 

contain at least an outline of the methods with which 

his name is not unjustly identified. The reason for the 

attack is probably that most people look upon Parliament 

as a kind of debating society instead of looking upon it 

as it really is, merely as an arena in which political 

battles are fought by every form of constitutional 

weapons. And John Redmond, as essentially a practical 

politician, understands this better than anyone, for it is one 

of the first lessons that an Irish leader has to learn. 

Logic no more rules the House of Commons than it 

rules the world. Every politician has faced the fact, and 

that is why Irish political history is one monotonous 

reiteration of the watchwords — organization, agitation, 

and obstruction. For of spontaneous redress of Irish 



grievances no one has ever heard, as Sydney Smith used 
to say ; hence the Irish attitude is only the necessary 
result of the English attitude, just as the actions of the 
French Revolution must be explained in the light of the 
ancien rigime. 

John Redmond, were he to write a treatise on the 
ideal parliament, would no doubt paint it as a delibera- 
tive assembly. But finding himself always confronted 
with a chronic ignorance on Irish affairs only equalled 
by a chronic indifference to the Irish demands, his only 
course is to compel legislation. Were this not the case, 
the Irish party might be a school of experts, sitting in 
London to answer inquiries ; as the case stands, the Irish 
leader has to make it into the most effective fighting 
force constitutionally possible, and in this he has 
succeeded from the first moment of his leadership ; for 
in point of discipline, organization and political capacity 
there is probably no party in the House that can 
compare with it, and certainly no leader who occupies 
such an absolute position. How that position was 
achieved, how it is maintained in its present strength, is 
the story of John Redmond's methods, which, in point 
of fact, were the methods of every one of the Irish 
leaders before him. 

To begin with, an Irish leader has two battles to 
fight: the one with political parties in the House of 
Commons, the other with public opinion outside it. 



And perhaps none of John Redmond's predecessors have 
ever accomplished this herculean task in the complete 
manner in which he has done. Certainly none of them 
have preached the Irish cause in so many continents, or 
ever held the position of a dictatorship so absolute over 
English political parties. 

So far as his own political principles are concerned, he 
is perfectly explicit and logical. He is a Parnellite 
through and through, and perhaps his speech at Mary- 
borough, in October, 1900, gives as good an analysis of 
his " creed " as any he has ever made. 

" My guiding principle in public life is perfectly 

simple," he said. " I have no faith, and never had, in 

any English political party. I have no faith, and never 

had, in English benevolence towards Ireland. I have 

no faith, and never had, in the possibility of any class 

of our population getting justice in the smallest 

particular for mere reason or argument or persuasion. 

No ! we have never got anything, from the days of 

O'Connell down to to-day, without labour or suffering 

or sacrifice on our part, or without making a movement 

dangerous and menacing towards England. My own 

principle in public life is, therefore, to make every 

department of Government, from the highest to the 

lowest, from the Chief Secretary in his back room in 

Dublin Castle down to the land grabber and the 

bailiff in the country town, hard and dangerous. That 



has always been my principle in public life. I have 

made no disguise of it. I have said it over and over 

again in the House of Commons. 

"You people of the Queen's County want land 

reform," he continued. " You want reform for tenants in 

towns. You want a Catholic University. You want 

justice for the labourer in town and country. You will 

get none of these things, not the very smallest of them, 

until you make yourself a trouble and a danger to the 

English Government in your country. How to do that 

is largely a matter for yourselves. Someone spoke 

here of crime and outrage. Why, crime and outrage 

don't make you dangerous to England ; on the 

contrary, crime and outrage play directly into the 

hands of your enemies. They constitute a justification 

before the whole world for any repressive measures 

that may be adopted : but so long as you keep your 

hands unstained by anything in the nature of crime 

against the laws . of God — I speak not of the law of 

the land, because most of it is bad and ought to be 

broken — but so long as you keep your hands unstained 

by crime against the laws of God, and as long as you 

mak« your movement a power in Ireland and a danger 

every night and every day in the year to the British 

Government, so long will you have some chance of 

obtaining some remedy of some sort, at any rate, for 

your grievances." 



This speech, taken by itself, might earn John Redmond 
the title of Agitator : but he is something more, for he 
is an organizer as well and the captain of a party 
whose very soul is organization. It is organized in its 
election, it is organized in its direction, it is organized 
in its action : Mid it is this fact that makes John 
Redmond's position in the House so peculiar. 

The following passage, taken from the pen of Mr. James 
O'Donovan on the election of an Irish member, may serve 
to illustrate my meaning (" Daily Mail Year Book ") : 

"The manner in which Nationalist candidates in 
Ireland are selected differs entirely from the method 
pursued in England. When an election is announced in 
Ireland a convention is summoned in the constituency 
by the National Directory of the United Irish League 
in Dublin. At this convention clergymen of all denomi- 
nations in the constituency are entitled to attend as 
ex-officio delegates ; the elective bodies in whose 
jurisdiction the constituency lies are empowered to send 
representatives in fixed proportions, and other branches 
of the United Irish League, the Land and Labour 
Association (composed of agricultural labourers), and 
one or two other Nationalist organizations. Before the 
name of a candidate can be put to a vote in the Con- 
vention, he must sign a pledge 'to sit, act, and vote 
with the Irish Parliamentary party.' The candidate 
who has a clear majority of votes becomes the official 



candidate of the party, and the party funds bear the 
entire expenses in case of a contest. 

" Under such a system no ' nursing ' of a constituency 
is necessary or possible. The candidate's expenses are 
paid for him, and when elected, he receives, if neces- 
sary, a modest allowance from the parliamentary fund, 
said to be £^ a week, with the liability to reduction 
for absence from the House after having been duly 
summoned by a Whip. The General Election in 1900 
did not cost the Nationalist party quite ;^4,ooo." 

Of the organization of direction the United Irish 
League is also the keystone, and in addition to the 
selection of individual candidates, it also acts as their 
guide in a body, the policy of the party being decided 
in the Conventions, so that from a purely political point 
of view it may be said to be the most representative 
in the world, since it is always going to the country. 
And so eiifective has it proved as a political weapon, 
that, in the mouth of the party's opponents, it has 
become a positive danger to the nation. With how 
much truth may be seen from the leader's own 

" For my part," he said, in April, 1900, shortly after 
his election as chairman, " I desire to see the United 
Irish League spread over the whole of Ireland, many 
enemies though it may have. There are many who 
think it the League of one man. Now let me say 



that I, for one, would not touch any organization that 
is to be the property of any one man, and this League, 
if it spreads through Ireland, as I hope it will, will be 
the property of no man or set of men: it will be the 
property of the people." Moreover, for fear of its being 
thought an official organization in the hands of one man, 
to the detriment of all individual action, he added : 
" My first duty to Ireland, in my opinion, is to preserve 
the union that has been created, and it requires inex- 
haustible patience upon my part, and a desire to con- 
ciliate every man who differs from me, and a desire 
to give way in this direction and in that in order 
to preserve discipline and unity ; for I believe in con ■ 
ciliation, and I believe, as Parnell said in every sense 
of politics, in the spirit of compromise." 

But this compromise must not extend to absolute 
chaos of principle, and hence, though personally John 
Redmond might try to co-operate with others, he stands 
officially by the organization once it has adopted a 
policy of its own, and will allow no other organization 
to clash with it. It was for this reason that when, in 
1909, several new organizations made their appearance, 
he wrote to the Press warning the country of the 
danger of a split and saying that " The Irish party, 
all of whose members are bound by pledge to act to- 
gether outside as well as inside the House of Commons, 

and the United Irish League are the only authorized 



organizations seeking to obtain Home Rule by consti- 
tutional means." 

Of the organization of action, the constitution of the 
party itself is the best example, for it is not enough 
to create a party without being able to use it ; hence 
John Redmond, when a movement to discredit its 
utility had arisen in Ireland, found it his duty to lay 
plainly before the country the essentials of the party 

Speaking at Ballybofey, in Donegal, on the 29th of 
August, 1907, he thus spoke of the National movement 
and its needs : 

" A parliamentary party representing Ireland in the 
British Parliament is as necessary — from some points 
of view is more necessary to-day than at any period 
since the Union ; and further than that, I say that the 
conditions upon which such a party can be of value 
and can achieve victories for Ireland remain to-day 
absolutely unchanged. 

" First of all, the party must be the mouthpiece of 
a united, organized and determined people at home. 
An Irish party in the English Parliament which did 
not represent any organized and united people in Ire- 
land would be useless, and, in my judgment, would 
be worse than useless. How stands the National organi- 
zation at this moment behind the National party? It 
is ridiculous to blame the party or to be disappointed 



with its achievements if the country itself had not 
fulfilled its duty — hence the first need of the country 
is to realize that their party cannot achieve good work 
for Ireland unless the people themselves do their duty 
at home, and I therefore to-day call upon the Irish 
people in every part of the country to strengthen the 
Irish organization, so that the Irish party may be able 
to speak with a certain confidence in the name of the 
mass of the people at home here in Ireland. 

" The second condition without which no party in 
Parliament can be of any value is that it must be a 
united and pledge-bound party. A party of independent 
items, a party of gentlemen, each one of whom went 
into the party on conditions of his own, would be an 
absolutely useless instrument for achieving Irish rights. 

" Further than this, the party, to be useful to Ireland, 
must be an independent party. It must be independent 
of all political parties. I have sat now in the House of 
Commons in opposition to Liberal and Tory Govern- 
ments for twenty-seven years. I have taken part in 
driving from office Liberal Governments and Tory 
Governments in turn, and I say to you that the Irish 
party is absolutely independent of all political combina- 
tions in England. We have no alliance with the present 
Liberal party. We would make no alliance with them 
except upon one condition, and that would be that they 

would not only determine to introduce A full Home 



Rule Bill for Ireland, but that they would make it the 
first and paramount item in their programme. 

"Now, with reference further to the party, if it is to 
be useful it must be composed of honest, capable men. 
In this matter the party is the result of the action of 
the Irish people themselves. I ;have not interfered in 
the selection of candidates for Ireland. I am not sure 
that I could not have made a fair claim to have my 
opinion asked with reference to the candidates, because 
if you want us to achieve good work, we, at any rate, 
ought to expect you would give us useful and efficient 
instruments to carry on the work, and it would not 
have been an unreasonable thing if I had asked the 
Irish people to allow me some voice in advice, at any 
rate, in the selection of candidates. But I did not do 
so. I have left the conventions for the selection of 
candidates absolutely free, and if the party, in the 
opinion of any set of people, is not made up of capable 
or honest men, the blame, and the fault, and the crime, 
would be upon the Irish people themselves. 

" Now, with such a party as I have described, united, 

pledge-bound, disciplined, independent of all English 

parties, composed of honest and capable men, and, above 

all, representing a determined, organized and united 

people at home — with such a party it is my profound 

conviction that we can in the future, as we have done 

in the past, win great ameliorative reforms for the 



people of Ireland ; and further, that we can, in a 
comparatively short space of time, win for this country 
the right of full national self-government. Fellow country- 
men, Ireland has, in my opinion, at this moment such a 
party and it would be sheer midsummer madness, it 
would be folly unworthy of a nation of children, if this 
great weapon which has won so much in the past were 
now to be laid aside because it has not succeeded in 
winning in a couple of years from the present Govern- 
ment a full measure of national self-government." 

That the Irish party's strength thus depends upon the 
balance of power, is of course evident, so evident, in fact, 
that it has called forth many a protest — one only just 
recently in the Fortnightly Review, asking Englishmen 
how long they would stand English politics being made 
the sport of aliens — -while there have been few accusa- 
tions more often repeated than that a party was pander- 
ing for the Irish vote. Gladstone was not free from the 
accusation and John Redmond has frequently been 
criticized for thus standing aloof from other parties and 
always awaiting the passing of the crisis that heralds a 
defeat of one of the rivals to give him the opportunity 
of extracting concessions from it in its dying struggles. 

From an Irish point of view, the position can stand 

the criticism well. For as long as Ireland remains a 

separate entity, separate not only geographically, but in 

its various interests, so long must the representatives 



give effect to that independence of requirements by 
standing aloof from the programmes of other parties. 
It would be as absurd to tie Ireland down to Free 
Trade because she wants Home Rule as it would be to 
expect every Tariff Reformer to be necessarily an 
opponent of Irish autonomy. The interests that separate 
English parties are not Irish interests, therefore they 
cannot be expected to win over Irish sympathies. A 
Socialist measure might win the support of the Nationalist 
party, because it favoured a class of Irish tenants ; but 
another Socialist measure might merit its hostility if by, 
say, wholesale secularization it endeavoured to subvert 
the faith of the greater part of the Irish population. 
It is true the Irish party forms one of the great demo- 
cratic parties in politics, but it is more conservative 
than the Conservatives themselves in matters of religion 
— at least, as far as individual members of it are 

It is, however, from the English point of view that 
John Redmond's position is most attacked, and that 
there is most hostility to his dictatorship. The real 
fault is not in the person or the position, it is in the 
system : and as long as party politics continue, so long 
must it endure. Any minority may obtain the balance 
of power, and it is no more odious because it is Irish 
than because it is a minority at all, and any re- 
sentment of the exercise of it is nothing less than 



a public repudiation of the fundamental doctrine of 
parliamentary government." If it is wrong for England 
to be governed by an Irish element, it is no less unfair 
for Ireland to be ruled by the English element. One 
cannot resist Home Rule on the plea that Home Rulers 
are interfering with our self-government, for we thus 
admit at once the justice of their contention. 

Mr. Stead, who treated a similar situation some ten 
years ago, when Mr. Asquith, it may be recalled, declared 
that he would never take part in an administration that 
depended for its existence on the Irish vote, then wrote : 
" The parliamentary system consists in the assembling 
within a single chamber of the representatives of the 
duly enfranchised subjects of the King. In the eye of 
the Constitution, it matters nothing whether a member 
takes his ticket from Galloway or from Aberdeen, from 
Cork or from Birmingham. He is an integral part of 
the Imperial Parliament, and there is no discrimination 
as to origin in the counting of votes in the division 
lobby. So long, therefore, as the Union exists, we 
betray the fundamental principle of that instrument 
when we attempt to differentiate between the Irish or 
any other vote. We have compelled the Irish members 
to meet us in Westminster, and we have comforted our- 
selves in so doing by declaring before all our Gods 
that we admit Irish members to all the rights and 
privileges and honours of the position to which we 

273 18 


have called them. For Mr. Asquith, or any other man, 
to declare that he will refuse to carry on the Govern- 
ment of the King unless he has a majority independent 
of the Irish is in effect to declare that, whatever the law 
of the House of Commons may be, he will refuse to 
count the votes of his Irish fellow-members, and thereby 
set them, so far as he can, outside the pale of the Con- 

It is not, however, merely a game of divisions in the 
lobby that John Redmond plays, for the party is not 
only a voting entity, it is also a thinking and speaking 
entity. It must be a moving spirit upon public opinion, 
or else its sphere of work is restricted to those occasions, 
few and far between, when it can for a moment grasp 
the balance of power. This is what Mr. Redmond is 
never tired of impressing on his followers, and which by 
his English and foreign tours he illustrates in his own 
person. He is, therefore, more than a member of Parlia- 
ment, he is " a Parliamentarian " ; that is to say, he speaks 
of social and economic grievances as one statesman does 
to another. " Parliamentarianism " is to him the language 
of all constitutional progress. Not that members of 
Parliament are a distinct class so much as that they 
fulfil the functions of the intelligence in the body politic, 
and that an appeal to them is the surest way of reach- 
ing the brain of the nation. The House of Commons 
is probably what he respects most in the English Consti- 



tution, and a passage in one of his American speeches 
gives a singularly good example of this. There are few 
sentiments more characteristic of the man. 

" In the main the House of Commons is, I believe, 
actuated by a sense of manliness and fair play. Of 
course, I am not speaking of it as a governing body, in 
that character it has been towards Ireland always ignor- 
ant and always unfair; I am treating it simply as an 
assembly of men, and I say of it, it is a body where 
sooner or later every man finds his proper level, where 
mediocrity and insincerity will never permanently succeed, 
and where ability and honesty of purpose will never 
permanently fail." It is to him, in fact, all that 
is most representative of English feeling and English 

And again, " The House of Commons throughout its 
long and chequered history has most of the time been 
a true reflex of the mind of the British nation, 
and its attitude at different periods towards different 
men and towards events has been the attitude which the 
nation at large has eventually assumed. During even 
my short time I have seen it change again and again in 
its way of regarding and feeling towards certain men 
and certain events, and I have seen the British nation 
invariably follow, or at least keep up with, its varying 

It is for this reason that John Redmond believes in 

275 18* 


Parliamentarianism, apart from passing politics, and it is 
for this reason that, though politically never more insignifi- 
cant than during the days of the overwhelming Liberal 
majorities, he was never in point of fact more powerful. 
Half his power, in fact, comes from the public opinion 
he has thus been able to mould, and which he calls the 
" outside forces " that make for Home Rule. 
Speaking of this movement in 1907, he said : 
" Let me for a moment ask you to consider some of 
what I may call the outside conditions and influences 
which affect the Irish cause at this moment — influences 
apart from Ireland. First of all, it is an undoubted fact 
that the bitter hostility to Home Rule which swayed so 
many of the people of England twenty years ago is 
absolutely dead. Within the last few months vigorous 
and most costly efforts were made by the Unionists of 
this country to rouse an anti-Irish campaign in Great 
Britain by speeches, by the circulation of lying literature, 
and by all the machinery which was well known twenty 
years ago, by the circulation of bogus stories of bogus 
outrages and so forth, and this campaign fell absolutely 
flat and was an absolute failure. I believe, for myself, 
the great masses of the working people of Great Britain 
are not in their hearts hostile to Ireland or her fair de- 
mands. They are in this position: they are struggling 
for their rights themselves, and their time is occupied 

with their own affairs, and, further than that, they know 



very little about Ireland, and therefore they are in- 
different and apathetic : but hostile, really hostile, to the 
fair demands of Ireland, I do not believe the masses of 
the working people of Great Britain are at this moment. 
Many of the old inveterate enemies of Irish freedom — I 
will not mention names — amongst leading statesmen of 
England, have disappeared or are disappearing, and 
speaking of them now individually, I give you my own 
individual opinion. 

" I say that the overwhelming majority of the present 
Liberal party in the House of Commons are in favour of 
a measure of Home Rule for Ireland. Further than 
that, the party of the future in England, the Labour 
party, is united as one man with us, and, greatest 
perhaps of all the outside influences working in favour of 
Home Rule is the everyday experience of the House of 
Commons. Every day the sittings of the House of 
Commons furnish an argument in favour of Home Rule 
for Ireland. There is a congestion of work there, grow- 
ing rapidly day by day, which is showing the English 
people that if they do not lighten the load by sending 
local affairs home to Ireland, and probably to Scotland 
and Wales, for management, representative institutions 
in England will sink beneath the burden. I tell you 
the everyday experience of the House of Commons 
constitutes an argument in favour of Home Rule for 
Ireland, and it is being pressed upon the minds of 



Englishmen. ..." Again, speaking of the Colonies, 

he said : " At the back of all that you have the opinion 

of all the self-governing Colonies, from the mouth of 

Sir Wilfrid Laurier, and from the mouth of General 

Botha. Every self-governing Colony at this moment 

has openly declared by Parliamentary resolutions and 

by the speeches of their leaders that they are in favour 

of Home Rule for Ireland. I say to you, these are all 

outside conditions and influences, but I say, if you had , 

nothing else, and if you left Ireland's own efforts out 

of account altogether, these outside influences make it 

absolutely certain that in the ordinary course of events 

Home Rule for Ireland will come, and the influence of 

Ireland's own action at home will decide whether it 

will come soon or not." 

This feeling on the part of the Colonies is, however, 

in no small measure due to his own exertions and shows 

the real Imperialism of the Home Ruler. He believes 

in the conscience of the Empire because he believes in 

its unity. And he believes in its unity because he 

belie^'e^ in the unity of the two races who have built 

it up. He is an Irish Imperialist because he feels the 

Empire is Irish. But if an Imperialist, he is at least a 

consistent Imperialist, and one who looks upon that 

bond, if applied in the same spirit, as a safeguard of 

independence rather than a danger, and it is for this 

reason he is anxious to show that Ireland and the 



Empire are of one mind upon the first principle of all 
federations, namely, Home Rule. 

And from the thousands of letters and resolutions of 
sympathy from the Colonies I may select one which 
may be taken at once as the most important and 
most characteristic. 

In 1905, the Australian Federal House of Representa- 
tives adopted a motion of Mr. Higgins for a petition to 
the King in favour of Home Rule for Ireland, thereby- 
exercising a right which, Mr. Higgins maintained, the 
Colonial Office had already recognized, and John Red- 
mond received the following telegram : 

" Melbourne, 

" October 19th, 1905. 
" Resolution involving petition to King favouring 
Home Rule carried in both Houses Federal Legis- 
lature by substantial majority. 

" Nicholas O'Donnell." 

The resolution was identical with one passed by the 
Canadian Parliament in 1903, and ran as follows : 

" May it please your Majesty, 

" We, your Majesty's dutiful and loyal subjects, 

the members of the House of Representatives in 

Parliament assembled, desire most earnestly in your 

name and on behalf of the people whom we 


represent to express our unswerving loyalty and 
devotion to your IVIajesty's person and Govern- 

"We have observed with feelings of profound 
satisfaction the evidence afforded by recent legis- 
lation and recent debates in the Houses of Parlia- 
ment of the United Kingdom of a sincere desire to 
deal justly with Ireland, and in particular we con- 
gratulate the people of the United Kingdom on the 
remarkable Act directed towards the settlement of 
the land question, and on the concession to the 
people of Ireland of a measure of Local Government 
for municipal purposes. But the sad history of 
Ireland since the Act of Union shows that no 
British Parliament can understand and especially 
deal with the economic and social conditions of 
Ireland. Enjoying and appreciating as we do the 
blessings of Home Rule here, we would humbly 
express the hope that a just measure of Home 
Rule may be granted to the people of Ireland. 
They ask it through their representatives — never 
has request more clear, consistent, and continuous 
been made by any nation. As subjects of your 
Majesty, we are interested in the peace and con- 
tentment of all parts of the Empire, and we desire 
to see the long-standing grievance at the very heart 

of the Empire removed. It is our desire for the 


solidarity and permanence of the Empire, as a 
power making for peace and civilization, that must 
be our excuse for submitting to your Majesty this 
respectful petition." 

This petition was supported by the Federal Premier, 
Mr, Deakin ; the Labour leader, Mr. Watson ; Mr. Isaacs, 
Attorney-General ; Sir William Lyne, Minister for Trade, 
and Mr. Chapman, Postmaster-General. Mr. Deakin, 
though he spoke as a private member, pointed out 
that the Colonial Secretary had admitted the right of 
the Colonies to make such a petition, and gave as an 
example one on Chinese Labour, saying he looked 
forward to a time when the Devolution in Ireland 
would be only a prelude to Devolution in the Empire. 
John Redmond felt the force of such a support and 
at once wired back to Dr. Nicholas O'Donnell, of 

"Convey to Higgins and supporters thanks for 
valuable service to Ireland. Every self-governing 
Colony in Empire has now declared for Home 
Rule for Ireland. 

"John Redmond." 

It is not, however, to the conscience of the Empire 
alone John Redmond appeals, but to that of all English- 
speaking nations. Hence the much misunderstood 



American missions, which, since his first in 1886, seem 

to have been made the special ground of attack on 

the part of Unionist organs, who seek to extract 

disloyal sentiments from his speeches there ; and I have 

often seen garbled passages which, I recognized, were 

turned into the strangest contortions to suit party ends. 

The aim is twofold, financial and national, as John 

Redmond himself told Mr. Stead in 1901. 

" I am going to America for the purpose of explaining 

to our people the union now happily effected in 

Ireland in all sections of the Nationalists. I shall set 

forth the prospects of the Irish cause and ask them 

to give substantial support to the United Irish League. 

My attitude to the Irish physical force societies who 

have refused to welcome me to America is clear and 

obvious. I have no quarrel with any man as to the 

freeing of Ireland in the way he thinks the best. And 

something akin to despair of constitutional methods 

is quite natural. I, however, do not despair ; on the 

contrary, I think that what we have already achieved 

justifies every confidence that we shall reach our end 

by the constitutional road." But the point most worth 

noting in these American tours is the attitude of the Irish 

themselves, which displays a loyalty to the land of 

their birth which has probably no parallel in history. 

" Perhaps the greatest glory of our nation," said John 

Redmond on one of these occasions, "is to be found in 



the fact that our people, driven by misfortune and 

misrule from the land of their forefathers, and coming 

to the land rude, ignorant, and poor, have yet been able 

to bear an honourable part in building up the fortunes 

of America and to give the world undeniable proof that, 

in addition to the qualities of fidelity and honesty, 

Irishmen under a free constitution can be worthy sons 

and good citizens. The Irish people in this great 

republic, no less as American citizens than as Irish 

Nationalists, have arrested the attention and commanded 

the admiration of the world. 

"The Irish soldier, whose sword was consecrated to 

the service of America, dreamed as he went into battle 

of the day when his adopted country might strike a 

blow for Irish liberty. The Irish business man, who 

found in one of your gigantic cities scope for his 

enterprise and for his industry, looked forward to the 

day when from his store help might go across the 

Atlantic to sustain Ireland's champions on the old sod. 

The Irish labourer, whose brawny arms have built 

your railroads and reared your stately palaces, in the 

midst of his labours laid aside his daily or weekly mite 

to help those who were fighting time after time with 

one weapon or another in the old cause against the 

enemies of Ireland. Rich and poor, high and low alike, 

the Irish in America have never forgotten the land 

whence they sprang, and our people at home, in their 



joys and in their sorrows, in their hopes and in their 
fears, turn ever for help and encouragement and 
confidence to this great repubhc upon whose fortunes 
and whose future rest to-day the blessing of the 
Irish race." 

But all these missions and tours are especially 
designed to give the Irish demand the fullest possible 
publicity in order to evoke the most complete sympathy 
which can be given to it by the English-speaking 
peoples, and the reception of the Irish delegates is 
always a public event in New York and Boston. Thus 
the Freeman, reviewing the mission of 1904, said : 

" A really international character was given to the 
proceedings of the United States officials. As if to 
emphasize the solidarity of North America in approval 
of Irish claims, the Governors of all the Northern 
states followed up the action of the Premier and 
Cabinet of the Canadian Government by associating 
themselves with the proceedings. The Governor of the 
old Quaker State presided at the meeting, and the 
Governors of twenty-five other States of the Union from 
New York to Montana and from Texas to Illinois sent 
acceptance of the r61e of President of the organizing 
committee, and all the Catholic prelates of the State 
of Philadelphia joined in the welcome to the representa- 
tives of the Irish Party. For a parallel we have to 

go back to those remarkable demonstrations in New 



York, Boston and Chicago in the autumn of 1890, before 
dissension had raised its head in the National ranks." 

A passage from Mr. Bernard Shaw, always brilliant 
on Irish affairs, gives a singular endorsement of the 
methods of John Redmond as a whole, and is worth 
quoting : 

" I do not claim it as a natural superiority in the Irish 
nation that it dislikes and mistrusts fools, and expects 
its political leaders to be clever and humbug-proof," he 
writes in the preface to " John Bull's Other Island." " It 
may be that if our resources included the armed forces 
and virtually unlimited money which push the political 
and military figure-heads of England through bungled 
enterprises to a muddled success, and create an illusion 
of some miraculous and divine innate English quality 
that enables a general to become a conqueror with 
abilities that would not suffice to save a cabman from 
having his license marked, and a member of Parliament 
to become Prime Minister with the outlook on life of a 
sporting country solicitor educated by a private governess, 
we should lapse into gross intellectual sottishness, and 
prefer leaders who encouraged our vulgarities by sharing 
them and flattered us by associating them with pur- 
chased successes, to our betters. But as it is, we cannot 
afford that sort of encouragement and flattery in Ireland. 
The odds against which our leaders have to fight would 

be too heavy for the fourth-rate Englishmen whose 



leadership consists for the most part in marking time 
ostentatiously until they are violently shoved, and then 
stumbling blindly forward (or backward), wherever the 
shove sends them. We cannot crush England as a 
Pickford's van might crush a perambulator. We are the 
perambulator and England the Pickford. We must study 
her and our real weaknesses and real strength ; we must 
practise upon her slow conscience and her quick terrors ; 
we must deal in ideas and political principles, since we 
cannot deal in bayonets ; we must outwit, outwork, out- 
stay her ; we must embarrass, bully, even conspire and 
assassinate, when nothing else will move her, if we are 
not all to be driven deeper and deeper into the shame 
and misery of our servitude. Our leaders must be not only 
determined enough, but clever enough, to do this. 

"We have no illusions as to the existence of any 
mysterious Irish pluck, Irish honesty, Irish bias on the 
part of providence, or sterling Irish solidity of character 
that will enable an Irish blockhead to hold his own 
against England. Blockheads are of no use to us ; we 
were compelled to follow a supercilious, unpopular, 
tongue-tied, aristocratic, Protestant Parnell, although there 
was no lack among us of fluent imbeciles, with majestic 
presences and oceans of dignity and sentiment, to promote 
into his place could they have done his work for us. 

"It is obviously convenient that Mr. Redmond should 

be a better speaker and rhetorician than Parnell ; but if 



he began to use his powers to make himself agreeable 
instead of making himself reckoned with by the enemy ; 
if he set to work to manufacture and support English 
shams and hypocrisies instead of exposing and denounc- 
ing them ; if he constituted himself the permanent 
apologist of doing nothing, and, when the people insisted 
on his doing something, only roused himself to discover 
how to pretend to do it without really changing anything, 
he would lose his leadership as certainly as an English 
politician would, by the same course, attain a permanent 
place on the front bench. In short, our circumstances 
place a premium on political ability, whilst the circum- 
stances of England discount it ; and the quality of the 
supply naturally follows the demand." 

Hence we see that John Redmond, from the point of 
view of a parliamentary leader, is right in his methods. 
An Irish leader cannot adopt any other tactics. Isaac Butt 
tried ' passive insistence,' was greatly respected, and 
never listened to. John Redmond is a man who is 
fighting a political battle against probably every odds 
that can possibly handicap a leader. His party is one 
of the smaller ones. Every discontent upon his part 
is looked upon as a disloyalty. Every attempt to 
organize a demonstration is looked upon as engineered 
ruffianism. An appeal for funds for the retaining of 
members in London is sufficient to get them the name 

of ' a kept party.' Once their votes become effective 



they are ' stealing legislation.' If an English party is at 
one in principle with the Irish demand, it is pandering for 
the Irish vote. If he is pleading for religious equality, 
he is spoken of as a priests' puppet trying to establish 
the reign of clericalism. If his followers support him, 
they are henchmen ; if they revolt, it is that he no 
longer represents anyone but himself. But at the same 
time, whether he is called a leader or a chairman, a 
boss or a figurehead, the great point remains the same, 
that the Irish demand is put forward effectively and 
intelligently and the recording pages of the Statute Book 
bear witness to the wisdom of the policy. But for that 
policy, but for that organization, but for that world-wide 
appeal making the Irish cause popular throughout the 
Empire and powerful in the House of Commons, John 
Redmond, brilliant orator and statesman though he is, 
would still remain a political zero. 





r^VER half a century ago Disraeli said, " I want to see 
a public man come forward and say what the Irish 
question really is. One says it is a physical question — 
another, a spiritual. Now it is the absence of an 
aristocracy, then it is the absence of railways. It is the 
■ Pope one day and potatoes the next." 

If there is anyone who can be said to be that man 
to-day, it is John Redmond ; and it is the answer to 
Pitt's question to Grattan, "What does Ireland now 
want?" (which has been repeated by every English 
statesman since 1794) that I have ventured to call the 
Irish leader's message. A little girl was once asked for 
the date of the Conquest of Ireland, and replied, "It 
began in 1169 and is going on still." John Redmond's 
answer is the same. 

"Each generation of Englishmen," writes John 
Redmond, in a preface to Barry O'Brien's "Hundred 

Years of Irish History," "have comforted themselves 

289 19 


with the reflection that they were righteous men, though 
their ancestors governed Ireland infamously. No 
Englishman justified the government of Ireland in the 
sixteenth, seventeenth or eighteenth century, and even 
the Englishmen of the latter part of the nineteenth 
century condemn the government of the men of the 
earlier part. But the truth is, that there is no genera- 
tion of Englishmen who can plume themselves on their 
administration of Irish affairs. Ignorance and ineptitude 
are the characteristics of the English rulers of Ireland 
of every generation ; yet Englishmen talk of Irish 
ingratitude and sneer at Irish grievances. ' What does 
Ireland now want ? ' is the stock question of English 
statesmen of the twentieth century." And he adds, 
"Were I to draw an indictment against English rule 
in Ireland, I should confine myself to the nineteenth 

In fact, it may be said that the " Irish Problem " 
hardly existed before the Union — certainly not as far as 
English politics were concerned. It really started the 
day the English House of Commons took over the 
government of Ireland, in the general panic that 
followed the rebellion of America and the spread of the 
French Revolution. Before that date Irish domestic 
questions were thrashed out by Irishmen, on Irish soil 
and in Irish interests ; since then they have only been 
attended to by Englishmen upon corhpulsion and 



entirely in the interests of one class of the community 

— the absentees. Irish discontent was thus forced upon /I 

the nation by the English Parliament. This was whalt ; 

Grattan foretold a century ago : this is what John j 

Redmond proves has now taken place. And considering j 

the general ignorance upon Irish affairs, it may not be 

without advantage to recapitulate some of the history of 

the Irish demand, in order to view the Irish leader's 

message in the light of experience. 

For " What Home Rule was " is the best answer to 

the question, " What will Home Rule be ? " What, then, 

was the nature of the Parliament of Ireland before the 

Union ? It can be seen in Mr. Redmond's preface to 

Mr. Barry O'Brien's " One Hundred Years of Irish 


" The first Irish Parliament was held in the reign of 

Edward I., in 1295. The earliest Irish statutes date 

from 1 3 10. From 1295 to 1495, the Irish Parliament 

was free from the control of the English Parliament. 

No law made in England was binding upon Ireland. 

It was in no wise necessary for the English Parliament 

to ratify the Irish statutes. In 1495 the first attempt at 

any innovation was made. Poynings's Law was passed. 

It provided : (i) that all acts hitherto passed in England 

should be binding in Ireland ; (2) that no Parliament 

should hereafter be summoned in Ireland unless the 

Viceroy had obtained the King's licence to hold it ; 

291 ig"" 


(3) that the heads of bills to be introduced in the Irish 
Parliament should be first submitted to the English 
Privy Council ; (4) that the consent of King and Privy 
Council should be obtained before such bills were intro- 
duced. It will be seen, however," Mr. Redmond adds, 
"that, servile as this Parliament was, it did not surrender 
its independence : it did not recognize England's right 
to make laws for Ireland. 

"It recognized the right of the King of England, who 
was also King of Ireland, to exercise jurisdiction over Irish 
legislation, and it adopted English acts previously passed. 
That was all. It still received co-ordinate authority, and 
this remained the state of things until the reign of 
George I. Then an act was passed in 17 19 which pro- 
vided that ' the King's Majesty, by and with the advice 
and consent of the Lords and Commons of Great 
Britain, had, hath, and of right ought to have, full 
power and authority to make laws to bind the people 
and the kingdom of Ireland.' " 

This, then, was the great usurpation, so unjustified in 

theory and so disastrous in fact. It was a complete 

reversal of the policy of self-government, and it was 

this, and this alone, which first aroused the desire for 

political independence in Ireland. At first the right of 

the English Parliament to exercise jurisdiction over 

Irish legislation was chiefly engineered against the 

religion of the country, so that one may say Unionist 



policy is the last trace of persecution and Liberal policy 
the beginning of toleration. 

"The beginning of the Irish penal code," as Lecky 
says, "was a law passed in 1691 by the English Par- 
liament for excluding all Catholics from the Irish one," 
but so successful did this become, that it not only ex- 
cluded every Papist, but it completely denationalized 
the Parliament : it was not only as if none but High- 
Churchmen were allowed to sit in the English chamber 
but as if, in addition, every seat was in the gift of an 
hereditary Privy Council. 

Thus speaking of the year 1753, Froude says, "A 
majority in the House of Commons was at this time 
returned by four great families : the Fitzgeralds of Kil- 
dare, the Boynes, the Ponsonbys and the Beresfords — 
the political sovereigns of Ireland. The Government 
was carried on by their assistance, and they received in 
return the patronage of the State. The Viceroy under- 
stood the meaning of the vote. Patriotic orators were 
silenced by promotion. Opposition to England's initiation 
of money bills was suspended, till the great families 
were again hungry, and fresh expectants of promotion 
were in a position to be troublesome." 

Such is the terrible indictment of the acknowledged 
apologist of English rule in Ireland. It was, therefore, 
a national, and not merely a Catholic grievance, for 
when the echoes of Bunker's Hill reached Ireland, 



when four thousand Irish troops had been sent to 
America, and the Mayor of Belfast fruitlessly appealed 
for English help to defend the country against French 
invasion (then a scare, as often since), there rose, as 
Lecky says, " one of those movements of enthusiasm 
that only occur two or three times in the history of a 
nation. The cry ' To arms ! ' passed through all the land 
and was responded to by all parties and creeds. 
They arose to defend their country from the invasion 
of the foreign army and from the encroachments of the 
alien legislature." 

There was nothing hostile to the Empire, it is worth 
noting, but there was the bitterest hatred against the 
policy of the Government. In fact, with the very same 
breath as they were asking for legislative independence 
they were appealing for a defensive union against foreign 
invasion and a commercial equality in free exports of 
wool, a trade in which about half the population were 
eijgaged. On April the 19th, 1780, Grattan propounded 
what may be called The Irish Declaration of Rights, 
which ran that, first, " The King, with the consent of the 
Parliament of Ireland, was alone competent to enact laws 
to bind Ireland ; " and second, that " Great Britain and 
Ireland were indissolubly united, but only under the tie 
of a common sovereign." 

The demand, backed by the volunteers and the nation, 

was successful. A couple of years later, in 1782, Lord 



North, who had lost America and would in all probability 
have lost Ireland as well, was displaced, and Fox took 
his place, the Duke of Portland becoming Lord 
Lieutenant. Pitt was the Chamberlain, Fox was the 
Gladstone of his day, for he foresaw that only on Home 
Rule principles could Ireland be satisfied. Hence, when 
the Irish Houses had assembled, the following message 
was read from the English Premier : " I have it in com- 
mand from His Majesty to inform this House that His 
Majesty being concerned to find that discontents and 
jealousies are prevailing upon matters of great weight 
and importance, His Majesty recommends it to this 
House to take the same into their most serious con- 
sideration, in order to effect such a final adjustment as 
may give mutual satisfaction to His Kingdoms of Eng- 
land and Ireland." Grattan's speech on the occasion is 
very significant, and never more so than at present, when 
another leader is on the eve of a constitutional crisis 
identical in almost every particular, save, perhaps, that 
one hundred years of disaster consequent on the reversal 
of the generous policy that was then contemplated may 
have taught us some political wisdom. 

" I found Ireland on her knees," he said. " I watched 
over her with an eternal solicitude. I have traced her 
progress from injuries to arms and from arms to liberty. 
Ireland is now a nation." The point is most important 
as involving the high-water mark of constitutional 



independence consistent both with the national aspirations 
of one of Ireland's noblest patriots and one of the most 
loyal of the old Imperialists. 

The statute ran as follows : 

" Be it enacted that the right claimed by the people 
of Ireland to be bound only by the laws enacted by His 
Majesty and the Parliament of that Kingdom and to 
have all actions at law and in equity which may be 
instituted in that kingdom decided in His Majesty's 
Courts, without appeal thence, shall be and is hereby 
declared and asserted for ever and shall at no time here- 
after be questioned or questionable." 

This statute is the Magna Charta of Home Rulers : 
the one point to which they always return ; and it is the 
wholesale corruption by which it came to be torn up 
that forms one of the blackest stains in the whole annals 
of English history. No one outside a lunatic asylum 
would ever seek seriously to defend the methods by 
which the Union was passed, and probably few 
would like to base England's right upon such a piece of 
highway robbery (to use the mildest term that will 
apply). Hence, were the Home Rule question purely a 
matter of history, one could say at once that the flaw 
in England's title is as evident as the sun in the heavens. 
But like a barrister, John Redmond waives the point for 
the moment, and prefers to plead his case on another 
argument — that of the prosperity of Ireland under that 



system which the Union abolished. Ireland under Grattan's 
Home Rule Parliament was prosperous, loyal and con- 
tented ; under Pitt's system it at once became bankrupt, 
disloyal, discontented. 

Of the period between 1782 and 1800, which saw 
Ireland's exports increase over one-half and her popula- 
tion over one-third. Lord Clare said, " No country in the 
world ever made such great advance in cultivation and 
commerce, agriculture and manufactures with the same 
rapidity in the same time." " Her laws were well 
arranged and administered," said Lord Plunkett, "a con- 
stitution fully recognized and established, her revenues 
and manufactures thriving beyond the most sanguine 
hopes — an example to any other country of her ex- 

But even this prosperity was in spite of things, for 
the Irish Government was not responsible to the Irish 
Parliament. Accordingly, corruption still went on. " The 
country was placed," said Grattan in 1790, "in a sort 
of interval between the ceasing of a system of oppression 
and the forming of a system of corruption." Two-thirds 
of the land was in the hands of grantees of confiscation. 
Twenty-five landowners held 116 seats, of which one- 
half belonged to three families ; while the pension list 
amounted to over a million. As to the sale of peerages, 
Curran used to say, " It is as notorious as the sale of 

cart-horses in the Castle Yard ; the publicity is the 



same, the terms not very different, the horses not 
warranted sound, the other animals warranted rotten." 
It was this Unionist policy against which Grattan 
thundered. "Reform Parliament," he used to say, "and 
let the King identify himself with his people, and try 
this plan ; for the ultimate consequence of a union will be 

The " fomented rebellion of '98 " was but the natural 
result of such a state of things. The Union, the real 
cause of the rebellion, was euphemistically called its 
remedy. "The rebellion of 1 798, with all the accumulated 
miseries it entailed, was the direct and predicted conse- 
quence of Pitt's policy," writes Lecky. "Ireland in 1795 
was singularly easy to govern had it been governed 
honestly and by honest men. Pitt sowed in Ireland the 
seeds of discord and bloodshed, religious animosities and 
social disorganization, which paralysed the energies of the 
country and rendered possible the success of his 
machinations." (Lecky on Grattan, 14th ed., 1871.) 

Thus it is to the few years of practical experience in 
Home Rule that John Redmond appeals for a justification 
of his proposals ; it is to a century of the reversal of 
that policy he points as the condemnation of its 

The demand of John Redmond to-day is the demand 

of Grattan in 1782. There is no question of separation 

— merely one of internal administration. His plea for 


From an engravino hy F. 0. LfwU, nflcr lltf pivliire by K. K- niiy. 


Moving the Declaration of Rights in the Irish House of Commons, April 16th, 1782. 

[To face p. : 


reform and settlement of grievances and his protests 
against extrinsic interference are the same. His name 
does not stand so much for a measure as for a principle ; 
he is a Gladstonian and follower of Fox as opposed to 
a disciple of Pitt and Salisbury ; he is an advocate of 
autonomy as opposed to autocracy ; he believes in 
decentralization as opposed to centralization in matters 
of government ; he knows the full strength of federa- 
tion, but he also knows the weakness of union ; he is 
a natural rebel to coercion in any form, religious or 
national, and there is none who has been more moderate 
and at the same time more earnest than he in seeking 
to bring about a spirit of conciliation between the two 
religions and the two races in Ireland. 

In fact, every Irish leader's speeches to-day read 
exactly alike — those of Grattan, of O'Connell, Butt and 
Parnell, as well as those of Redmond, and it seems 
strange how in the light of history every leader has 
been branded as a rebel to the Empire simply for 
protesting against the Castle Government of Ireland. 
In truth, Home Rule has never been fought except as 
a scare ; and certainly it is high time that a misunder- 
standing which has cost the nation four millions of 
population should be rectified. I have said that the 
message of every leader is the same. This is true. 
But if there is any difference at all between the 

messages, it is rather the result of the personalities 



of the leaders and their times which caused them 
to present them differently : not that their aims 

Daniel O'Connell was a constitutionalist by nature, 
for in his youth he had been shocked by the excesses 
of the Revolution in France ; but above all he was a 
religious leader, and to him not a little of the sectarian 
bitterness of to-day is due. As for his secular efforts, 
they were a failure, for in John Redmond's words, "The 
English people have no conception that between 1829 
and 1869 no great measure of justice for Ireland was 
passed." His life, indeed, seemed to prove the futility 
of dependence on English parties to his impatient 
generation, and two more rebellions were the result. 
Again it was the same story as in '98. The " Young 
Ireland " movement, instead of being looked upon as the 
result of Unionist policy, was looked upon as its 

Isaac Butt's academic ability all admit. He stated the 
problem in exactly the same terms as O'Connell — 
merely substituting the words Home Rule for Repeal. 
But so helpless was it in point of fact that arms 
again seemed the only resort after the failure of 
argument, with the Fenian movement as the result. 

Then came Parnell's policy of constitutional agitation 

and parliamentary obstruction, which raised the Home 

Rule question once more into the sphere of practical 



politics. But what was still more important was the 
rise of a champion in the person of Mr. Gladstone, 
animated with the spirit of Fox and the older Liberals, 
who began to see the havoc wrought by not only the 
crime but the folly of the Union, and from that day to 
this, in John Redmond's lifetime, there has been a general 
spread of that spirit of generosity. Again England asks, 
" What does Ireland now want ? " Again an Irish 
leader answers, " It is the same as it always has been — 
our National Parliament." England, it seems, is ready 
to grant it if she only could be certain of the spirit in 
which it would be accepted. Hence it may not be 
useless to recapitulate the arguments of the leaders and 
see for ourselves in what spirit their demands were put 

First take Grattan's last protest before the Union. 

" The one great capital and fundamental cause of 
Irish discontent was the interposition of the Parliament 
of Great Britain in the legislative regulation of Ireland, 
the interference of that or any other Parliament save 
only the King, Lords and Commons of Ireland. . . . 
Ireland considers the British Empire as the greatest 
western barrier against invasion from other countries. 
She hears the ocean protesting against separation, but 
she hears the sea likewise protesting against union. 
She follows, therefore, her physical destination, and obeys 
the dispensations of Providence when she protests, like 



the sea, against the two situations, both equally un- 
natural — separation and union ; but then she feels her 
Constitution to be her great stake in the Empire and 
the Empire the great security of her Constitution. We 
give our strength to this western barrier, for the 
security of our liberty ; but if British Ministers should do 
that very mischief which we apprehend from the 
foreigner, namely, take away the Constitution, they take 
away with that our interest in the British dominions, 
and thus withdraw at once a great pillar of liberty 
and Empire. That Constitution has been the inheritance 
of this country for six hundred years. This Constitution 
the Minister destroys as the condition of our connection, 
and he destroys one of the pillars of the British Empire, 
the habitation of Irish loyalty." 

O'Connell's message was just the same, breathing at 
once a spirit of Imperial loyalty and national indepen- 

" Illustrious Lady," he wrote in his well-known and 
almost pathetic address to Queen Victoria, " the rebellion 
of 1798 itself was almost avowedly and beyond a 
doubt probably fomented to enable the British Govern- 
ment to extinguish the Irish legislative independence 
and to bring about the Union. 

" We feel and understand that if the Union was not 

in existence, if Ireland had her own Parliament, the 

popular majority would have long since carried every 



measure of salutary and useful legislation and reform. 
Instead of being behindhand with England and Scot- 
land, we should have taken the lead and achieved for 
ourselves all and more than we have contributed to 
achieve for them. If there were no Union, Ireland 
would be the part of the British dominions in which 
greater progress would have been made in civil and 
religious liberty than in any other part of the British 
dominions. The Union, and the Union alone, stands 
in the way of our achieving for ourselves every political 

The message of Butt to the English Parliament was 
exactly the same ; or, if anything, more moderate, con- 
sidering that the federal Parliament would be supreme 
instead of co-ordinate. 

" In claiming these rights and privileges for our coun- 
try," ran one of the resolutions of the Home Rule Con- 
ference, " we adopt the principle of a federal arrange- 
ment, which would secure to the Irish Parliament the 
right of legislating for and regulating all matters relating 
to the internal affairs of Ireland, leaving to the Imperial 
Parliament the power of dealing with all questions 
affecting the Imperial Crown and Government, legislation 
regarding the Colonies and other Dependencies of the 
Crown, in the relations of the Empire with foreign 
States, and all matters pertaining to the defence and 
stability of the Empire at large, as well as the power 



of granting and providing the supplies necessary for 
Imperial purposes." 

The only questions they thought might offer a danger 
namely, the land and the Church, were to be excluded 
specially, but it must never be forgotten that, though 
occasionally identified they were never identical with 
Home Rule, and though legislative independence has 
been an argument in favour of agricultural and educa- 
tional reform it has nothing to do with them, and hence 
their settlement cannot diminish its own merits. 

The methods of Parnell were different; his message 
was the same. Speaking, for example, of the Home 
Rule Bill of 1886, he said: 

"We have always known the difference, since the 
introduction of this Bill, between a co-ordinate and a 
subordinate Parliament, and we have recognized that 
the legislature which the Prime Minister proposes to 
constitute is a subordinate Parliament. Undoubtedly I 
should have preferred the restitution of Grattan's Parlia- 
ment ; but I consider that there are practical advantages 
connected with the proposed statutory body, limited and 
subordinate to this Imperial Parliament as it undoubtedly 
will be, which will render it much more useful and 
advantageous to the Irish people than was Grattan's 

And again : 

"I understand the supremacy of the Imperial Parlia- 



ment to be that they can interfere in the event of the 
powers which are conferred by this Bill being abused 
under certain circumstances. But the Nationalists in 
accepting this Bill go, as I think, under an honourable 
understanding not to abuse those powers : and we 
pledge ourselves in this respect for the Irish people, as 
far as we can pledge ourselves, not to abuse those 
powers, and to devote our energies and influences to 
prevent those powers from being abused. . . . The 
Imperial Parliament will have at command the force 
which it reserves to itself, and it will be ready to 
intervene, but only in the case of grave necessity 
arising. ... I think that this is by far the best mode 
in which we can hope to settle this question. We look 
upon the provisions of this Bill as a final settlement 
of the question, and I believe that the Irish people 
have accepted it as such a settlement." 

It may at first be thought these quotations are 
superfluous in a biography : on the contrary, I think 
they add weight to the importance of the present 
leader's message, which would lose half its force were it 
something peculiar to him or peculiar to his times. For, 
as he says, "Even though English government were the 
best in the world, I would still be a Home Ruler." 

There are, in fact, few causes in British politics which 
have displayed at once such consistency and such perse- 
verance as the Home Rule demand. It is no new 

305 20 


demand, for it is one with all Irish history: it is no 
revolutionary experiment, for Ireland was never so pro- 
sperous as when its principles were in force. But it is 
one which needs interpretation in the light of history, 
and probably it is only that chronic ignorance of Irish 
affairs and chronic indifference to the Irish demand 
which prevents John Redmond's message of peace from 
being accepted with alacrity by Liberals and Unionists 

A few quotations now from John Redmond himself 
will show how completely were his latest utterances in 
harmony with those of his predecessors. When, as late 
as March 30th, 1908, John Redmond introduced his Home 
Rule motion, declaring that the reform of Irish govern- 
ment was of vital importance both to England and Ire- 
land, and that only in legislative and executive autonomy 
could a final solution be expected, it was suggested that 
words of restriction should be used showing that 
autonomy did not mean independence. His answer was 
very significant, and, as the foregoing quotations must 
have shown, very just. He resisted, he said, any such 
addition, because Home Rule had never meant anything 
else except to its opponents, who drew from this mis- 
representation their strongest argument against it. 

" We have always recognized the supremacy of the 

Imperial Parliament, and we have always held the view 

that it would be impossible to alienate that supremacy 



in creating a statutory legislature for Ireland. The Bill 
of 1886 was based upon the maintenance of the 
supremacy of this Parliament. The preamble — the very 
first words of the second Home Rule Bill, of 1893, 
were these — 'Without impairing or restricting the 
supremacy of the Imperial Parliament a legislature 
shall be created.' " 

To the question, " Why does not the Irish party 
introduce a Home Rule Bill ? " John Redmond replies in 
Mr. Barry O'Brien's "Dublin Castle." 

" If they mean that we should put our demand into a 
bill and present it to the House of Commons, I do not 
think there would be any use in that. The House will 
give no attention to a Home Rule Bill which is not 
introduced by the Prime Minister of the day and made 
a Cabinet question. But if they want a concrete case, 
an illustration of the kind of thing we want, let them 
look to their self-governing Colonies and Dependencies." 

As to what Irish affairs really are, John Redmond is 
equally emphatic. 

" There again the position taken up by Parnell (which 

is the position we still hold) was most reasonable. He 

was willing that the Home Rule Bill should either 

specify directly the affairs which should be left to an 

Irish Parliament or, upon the other hand, confer 

complete powers of legislation on the Irish Parliament, 

subject to the exclusion of certain subjects." These 

307 20* 


subjects were, in the Bill of 1886: The Crown, peace or 
war, the army, navy, militia, volunteers, foreign and 
colonial relations, dignities, titles of honour, treason, 
trade, Post Office and coinage ; the Irish Parliament 
being also forbidden to make any laws respecting the 
endowment of religion, or in restraint of educational 
freedom, or relating to the Customs or Excise. The 
Irish police were eventually to be handed over to the 
Irish Parliament, but while Ireland's contribution to the 
Imperial revenue was to be in proportion of one- 
fifteenth to the whole, she was not to retain any re- 
presentatives in the Imperial Parliament, all consti- 
tutional questions relating to the power of the 
Irish Parliament being submitted to the Judicial Com- 
mittee of the English Privy Council. The Bill of 1893, 
however, still retained the Irish members in West- 
■ Hence, as John Redmond says, " When Englishmen ask 

us what we want we answer in a sentence : A measure 

of legislative autonomy similar to that enjoyed by any 

of your self-governing Colonies or Dependencies. If you 

want an illustration, look at Canada, look even at the 

Transvaal. The Transvaal is a new country and yet it 

enjoys legislative autonomy : Ireland, a more ancient 

kingdom than England, does not." 

A union with England, permanent and perfect ; a 

legislative independence, absolute and guaranteed ; those 



are the principles for which all Irish statesmen have 
fought and which still remain their demand. There never 
has been nor ever can be any question of separation ; there 
ever is and ever has been a cry for domestic autonomy. 
That, in point of fact, is the whole history of Ireland— 
the first principle of Irish politics. 

Such, then, is John Redmond's message from Ireland, 
for it is not merely a demand. It is not only the key 
to a complicated problem, it is also the olive branch 
between two nations whom misgovernment has rendered 
hostile. It is a return to the policy most conducive to 
Imperial unity and at the same time to national indivi- 
duality. But it is more, for it is the only scheme of 
Empire which can endure the test of time and trial. It 
is a mistake to think Home Rule is an Irish question, 
it is as wide as the Empire; in fact, it is the very 
mainstay of Empire, and the Minister who would reverse 
its policy, like Pitt did in Ireland, would probably lose 
the loyalty of that Empire if he did not lose it altogether, 
as Lord North lost America, while the Minister who 
would listen to the cry in time would probably, as in 
the case of Canada, turn a " rebel " colony into one of 
the staunchest and most devoted partners in the English 

In the words of Bernard Shaw, John Redmond's 
message to England is this : " Let her look to her 
Empire, for unless she (England) makes it such a 



federation for civil strength and defence that all free 
people will cling to it voluntarily, it will inevitably become 
a military tyranny to prevent them from abandoning it; 
and such a tyranny will drain the English taxpayer of 
his money more effectually than its worst cruelties can 
ever drain its victims of their liberty. A political scheme 
that cannot be carried out, except by soldiers, will not 
be a permanent one. The soldier is an anachronism of 
which we must get rid — for only if it were possible to 
militarize all the humanity out of a man could one hope 
for some final end being thus attained." 




VI R. REDMOND'S demand for Home Rule I have 
ventured to call his " message " : the practical 
effects of that remedy I venture to call his " mission." 
For there are many who will grant the , speculative 
plausibility of the remedy but at the same time remain 
sceptical as to its actual efficacy. It was chiefly to 
answer these critics that John Redmond, after the defeat 
of the Councils Bill, began a series of speeches on the 
Home Rule question in which almost every aspect of it 
was touched, and if the message gives him the title of 
Nationalist or Patriot, the mission may not unfairly be 
taken to claim for him that title of Statesman which 
has so often been bestowed upon him already. 

What, then, according to John Redmond are the 
practical aspects of Home Rule, apart from all question 
of historic rights or national aspirations ? They may be 
roughly divided into five — the industrial, the economic, 
the social, the religious and the Imperial aspects. 

If there is anything that is characteristic of Irish 
movements it is their antagonism : and this even in 



spite of the fact that they are really in themselves com- 
plementary. If there is anything which is characteristic 
of the present leader, it is the comprehensiveness of his 
policy. He has many enemies. Mr. Sydney Brooks even 
wonders "whether he is any longer in touch with the 
ins and outs of Irish sentiment," and Sir Horace 
Plunkett deplores the fact that the political leaders do 
not "as a class take a prominent or even active part in 
business life," while the Sinn Feiners have declared open 
war upon the very existence of the party, as utterly 
useless. How far these accusations are justified in fact 
may be judged from the following analysis of the leader's 

To begin with the industrial movement. It began in 
the days of the split in 1895, and was the outcome of 
the Recess Committee, which was composed of prominent 
leaders of public opinion, together with members of 
Parliament. Sir Horace, then Mr., Plunkett suggested 
that if its dictates were carried out the Irish people 
would cease to desire Home Rule. The result was that 
Mr. Justin McCarthy refused point blank to have any- 
thing to do with it, while Colonel Saunderson refused to 
sit on the same committee with John Redmond. On the 
other hand, as Sir Horace goes on to observe in his 
"Ireland in the New Century," John Redmond shared 
the opinion of his few followers, chief among whom was 

Mr. Field, that man cannot live on politics alone. He 



joined the committee and "acted throughout in a 
manner which was broad, statesmanlike, conciliatory and 
as generous as it was courageous." He was not, as he 
wrote, as sanguine as the originator of the movement, 
but at the same time he said, " I am unwilling to take 
the responsibility of declining to aid in any effort to 
promote useful legislation for Ireland." And so success- 
ful was the enterprise that, as Sir Horace observes, when 
a Nationalist member met a Tory member of the Recess 
Committee, he laughed at the success with which they 
had wheedled a measure of Industrial Home Rule out of 
a Unionist Government. It was only, in fact, when the 
leaders, most of them anti-Home Rulers, tried to turn it 
into a substitute for self-government that John Redmond 
severed his connection with it, thus writing to the editor of 
the Irish World in New York : 

" The promotion of Irish industries is so praiseworthy an 
object that some of our people in America have been 
deceived in this matter. I myself, indeed, at one time 
entertained the belief in the good intentions of Sir Horace 
Plunkett and his friends, but recent bouts have entirely un- 
deceived me : and Sir Horace Plunkett's recent book, full 
as it is of undisguised contempt for the Irish race, makes it 
plain to me that the real object of the movement in 
question is to undermine the National party and divert the 
minds of our people from Home Rule, which is the only 
thing which can ever lead to real revival of Irish industry." 



It was a thousand pities that the two should have 
become antagonistic, but when all has been said and 
done, it will be found that John Redmond's scheme is 
more comprehensive, since it includes that of Sir Horace ; 
and one wonders, not why John Redmond is not an 
industrialist, but why Sir Horace is not a Home Ruler ; 
in fact, it seems a puzzle to conceive how self-govern- 
ment could possibly prove fatal to industry. Certainly 
John Redmond does not think so. For example, speak- 
ing at Maryborough on 13th of October, 1907, he said: 

"Now, what can we do ourselves? It is a question of 
a little thought, and of a little unity of action amongst 
the people. Here is a circular that we have recently 
issued from the United Irish League Offices. We have 
arranged in Dublin in connection with that office an 
Industrial Bureau, and we hope to work that all through 
Ireland, so as to induce the people to give a chance to 
their own industries. Let me read the circular : 

" ' Members of the United Irish League should use 
Irish manufactured goods. 

" ' Branches are required to exercise their influence in 
every locality, to secure that in the giving of local con- 
tracts a decided preference should be given by elected 
public bodies to goods of Irish manufacture. 

" ' That the local public bodies be requested to insist 
that the Irish trade mark should be stamped on all 
goods offered as Irish made. 



"'That at every meeting held in furtherance of the 
National campaign, now being inaugurated, a resolution 
dealing with the promotion of Irish industries should be 
given a prominent place on the programme of the 
meeting, and, as far as practicable, sub-committees of the 
organization should be appointed to give effect to the 

" ' That deputations should be appointed in each locality 
to urge on shopkeepers the necessity of stocking Irish goods. 

" ' That individual members of the organization be 
requested to give their custom to shopkeepers who stock 
Irish goods. 

" ' That branches be requested to have displayed in 
their meeting rooms the names of shopkeepers and 
merchants who stock Irish manufactured goods in their 
districts, and that they instruct their secretaries to send 
to every householder in each district the names of such 
shopkeepers and merchants as give preference to goods 
of Irish manufacture. 

" ' The traders in each district in Ireland will be 
supplied, on application to the Industrial Bureau of the 
United Irish League at their offices in Dublin, with a 
full list of Irish manufacturers : and, finally, we invite 
the public everywhere to enter into communication with 
this Bureau, and to assist us in inducing the Irish 
people themselves to give a chance to their own manu- 
facturers, by giving a preference to Irish goods.'" 



The circular sounds like one issued by the Sinn 
Fein party ; but it shows how at root there is little 
reason for the attacks of that party on the Irish leader. 

" Now, what is the moral of all this I have been 
saying to you?" he continues. "The moral is this — 
that the industrial decay of Ireland is the greatest 
of all condemnations of English rule in this land ; 
that Ireland is a country with great natural resources ; 
that the Irish people have proved by their past 
history that they have an aptitude and an inherent 
capacity for industrial pursuits ; that Ireland was once a 
country almost as prosperous industrially as England 
herself; but as soon as she became a serious rival in 
her markets and the markets of the world, those indus- 
tries were totally suppressed by the English Parliament; 
that Ireland, during the eighteen years that she had her 
own Parliament, revived those industries, and that those 
industries died away again from the very hour that self- 
government was taken from our people. Now, what 
answer has any English statesman of any party to give 
to that argument for Home Rule ? There is no argu- 
ment in reply ; and I therefore to-day put forward this 
one point in the Home Rule case — that the industrial 
decay of Ireland alone, if there was no other argument, 
would be conclusive proof of the justice and the neces- 
sity of our demand." 

The second aspect of Home Rule is the economic 



aspect. We can only judge it, as John Redmond main- 
tains, by the ordinary tests applied to all Governments, 
and by every one of these, he maintains, the Government 
of Ireland stands condemned. And there is probably no 
speech of his which displays less sentiment or more 
science than the one in which he treated the Irish de- 
mand at the Mansion House, Dublin, on 4th September, 
1907. It is too long to quote, but was to this effect: 

By the test of population, the Union has been proved 
a failure, for it has cost half the inhabitants of Ireland. 
Take the test of religious liberty ; it was only a year ago 
a University Bill was passed, and the great majority of 
Catholics are in inferior positions. Take the contentment 
of the people during the past century ; there have been 
three rebellions suppressed in blood. Take prosperity ; 
nearly all the industries are dead and a famine swept hun- 
dreds of thousands from Ireland. Take industrial de- 
velopment ; railway freights are higher in Ireland than 
in any country in the world. Take education ; the level 
is lower than anywhere in Europe. Take the cost of 
government per head ; it has doubled, while the popu- 
lation has halved ; and in addition there is universal dis- 
satisfaction, little respect for law, which is adminis- 
tered in such a political spirit as to have practically 
no hold whatever on the people. 

Such is the picture of which John Redmond draws 
each detail separately in the course of those famous 



speeches of 1907 which I may term his great " Apology 
for Home Rule." Nothing but self-government, he main- 
tains, can or ever will be the full remedy for that system 
of Castle boards which make the administration of Ire- 
land at once the costliest and the least efficient of any 
in Europe. 

There is more than sentiment in such an indictment. 
It would be made even by a business man ; and therein 
does John Redmond differ from those patriots with whom 
love of country is everything and understanding of it 
nothing ; who think that Nationalism is not so much a 
matter of the brain as of the heart; and it is probably 
for this reason that he has been given by the Press the 
J double title of statesman and Nationalist. His mission is 
something more than the vision of an uneducated en- 
thusiast : it is the practical programme of a man versed 
in history and economics, and in not only the art of 
loving his native land, but the science of serving it. 

The third, or social aspect of Home Rule, though per- 
haps less thought of, is nevertheless one of the most 
important, for Ireland is to-day divided into some six or 
more parties. The classes are antagonistic, the creeds are 
antagonistic, the castes are antagonistic, and all of them 
grow up in two water-tight compartments. The moneyed 
classes and the common people have no sympathy; 
Belfast and Trinity are looked upon as dangerous to 

Catholics ; the word English or English-educated is a 



term of reproach among Nationalists, and a mark of dis- 
tinction in society. All these parties move in different 
planes of thought and action, for the simple reason that 
they have not a common meeting-ground as they would 
have in an Irish House of Commons. In Grattan's day, 
there was far less antagonism of creed than in 
O'Connell's (according to Lecky) ; while the ParHament 
of 1782 made Dublin a centre of intellectual activity 
which united all classes in the respect and development 
of Irish talent and enterprise. Ireland is not yet a 
nation and cannot be until all these wounds are healed. 
Until there is a residential aristocracy and the repre- 
sentatives of the people can meet them upon terms of 
mutual interest and mutual respect, Ireland can only be 
a bundle of sects and factions. 

It is this national union which Home Rule would 
inevitably bring about ; and it is one far more healthy 
and far more lasting than any of parchment or of steel. 

" No, we Catholic Irishmen," as John Redmond said in 
1 886, " repudiate this accusation of intolerance with 
scorn and indignation. We do not even understand the 
word religious bigotry. By the Irish nation we do not 
mean any class or sect or creed. By Irish independence 
we mean liberty for every Irishman, whether in his veins 
runs the blood of the Celt or the Norman, the Crom- 
wellian or the Williamite, whether he professes the 
ancient faith of Ireland or the newer creed which has 



given to our country some of the bravest and purest of 
her patriots." 

This is what I should like to call the " Unionism " 
of John Redmond, for only by a return of the Parlia- 
ment to Dublin can it be expected to bring back that 
real centre of national life that was there previously. 
Prior to the Union there was real unity ; since the Union 
there has been nothing but faction. There is an exodus 
of native talent ; there is an immigration of exploiters 
and men indifferent to the genius of the race. There 
is no national encouragement for Irish art or literature, 
simply because there is no centre of Irish thought. 
That is what John Redmond pleads for, and to my 
mind it is one of the strongest and healthiest of the 
results Home Rule would have. 

There are, however, two obstacles to this new 
unionism which have given rise, perhaps, to more mis- 
understanding than any others, and are the two " bogeys " 
by which Home Rule is distorted. The one is the 
" Clerical " scare ; the other the " Separation " scare. 
According to Mr. Herbert Paul, John Redmond is the 
'' anti-clerical par excellence " ; according to " Pat's " 
Sorrows of Ireland he is the very opposite. " A consti- 
tution is demanded for Ireland," writes the latter ; " an 
independent parliament with an executive responsible to 
it. Up to a certain point this is a constitutional pro- 
position. But who is to accept the new Qoijgtitution 



if granted : Cardinal Logue or his deputy, Mr. Redmond ? 
Obviously not the people, in any case. And yet, apart 
from the people, the proposition has no meaning in 
terms of democracy." 

The question is far too delicate to be made a personal 
one, but considering that the only reason, according to 
some politicians, why Home Rule was granted to Botha, 
while it was refused to Redmond, is that the former was 
a free man, and the latter a priests' puppet, it becomes 
imperative to treat the matter ; especially since Redmond, 
during the Education crisis, was accused by the Clericals 
of being animated by " the spirit of Henry VIII.," and 
according to one prelate was "a second Clemenceau." 
Of course, it is notorious that all public controversy is 
conducted in terms of hyperbole ; but they are none the 
less spoken in earnest for all that. 

Taking John Redmond, then, as spokesman of the 
Parliamentarians, what is likely to be the religious out- 
come of Home Rule ? But, first, let us hear the two 
extreme views of which John Redmond appears the 
mean. Colonel Saunderson may be taken for one ; 
Bernard Shaw for the other. 

If ever there were a typical embodiment of the Ulster 

spirit, it was Colonel Saunderson, for in Ireland there 

has never been that entente cordiale with Rome known 

as the Oxford Movement, and the Protestantism of 

Ulster is the Protestantism of Tyburn. Hence his speech 

321 21 


at Portadown in 1893 was in every way a character- 
istic one. I merely quote extracts from it as indicating 
attitudes of mind rather than as expressions of arguments, 
for the i<ey to an Irish question is the spirit in which it 
is treated, and these are not bad examples of the 
wrong spirit in which it is often approached by some. 

Speaking for Irish Protestants, he said "that he was 
opposed to the setting up in this country of a new 
ascendancy more tyrannical and more detestable than 
any which had gone before, namely, the ascendancy of 
the Irish Roman Catholic Church ; " but even this was 
too moderate a denunciation, and a short time later, at 
Lurgan, he spoke of Home Rule as the great clerical 
danger. Of course, he admitted that every priest was 
not an Archbishop Walsh. Some were better, some 
worse ; some were excellent men ; some bishops had 
certainly condemned the criminal action of the Land 
League ; but what did that matter ? If they had Home 
Rule, who was the priest who would then rule Ireland? 
Why, Archbishop Walsh. He was the man who returned 
over seventy members to the House of Commons ; he was 
the wire-puller, and he even objected to the Coronation 
Oath being changed as inexpedient in the Protestant 
interests of the country." 

As to a Catholic University, he could see nothing in 
it but an organized permanent domination of the 
clergy — a singular contrast with the broad-mindedness 



in which John Redmond was ready to grant the 

Belfast Presbyterian University. "There were priests in 

all denominations, and he disliked them all equally," 

the Colonel once said, in a speech in the House of 

Commons. " If the House wanted to know what 

kind of citizens Roman Catholic education in Ireland 

turned out, it had not far to look. There were about 

eighty specimens below the gangway opposite. He did 

not say bad specimens, for that would be uncivil to 

members opposite ; and he did not say good specimens, 

because he thought that would be insulting to the Irish 

people. They openly avowed they hated the British 

Empire. Whoever struck at Great Britain was their 

friend. Was this assembly going to increase the output 

of this product ? " 

If this be, as it undoubtedly is, a fair example by 

the Protestant spokesman of the religious attitude of 

the minority in Ireland, I may say, comparing it with 

the Catholic spokesman, that Ireland has more to fear 

from Protestant ascendancy than Catholic ; while, if it 

be taken as typical of the Unionist attitude, it would 

certainly justify the wildest dreams of the Fenians, 

But it is merely such stuff as scares are made of. 

There are many who differ from Colonel Saunderson 

not only in spirit but in prophecy, and chief among 

these is Mr. Bernard Shaw, whose wonderful " Preface 

to Politicians" in "John Bull's Other Island," forms 

323 21* 


one of the ablest antidotes to " Popery " which the 
most bigoted atheist could wish for with his dying 

"Just consider the Home Rule question in the light 
of that very English characteristic of the Irish people, 
their political hatred of priests," he writes. . . . "Do 
not be distracted by the shriek of indignant denial from 
the Catholic papers and from those who have witnessed 
the charming relations between the Irish peasants and 
their spiritual fathers. . . . For an Irish Catholic may 
like his priest as a man and revere him as a confessor 
and spiritual pastor, whilst being implacably determined 
to seize the first opportunity of throwing off his yoke. 
This is political hatred and is the only hatred that 
civilization allows to be mortal hatred. Realize, then, 
that the popular party in Ireland is seething with 
rebellion against the tyranny of the Church. 

" Let us suppose that the establishment," he con- 
tinues, "of a National Government were to annihilate 
the oligarchic party, by absorbing the Protestant gar- 
rison and making it a Protestant National guard. The 
Roman Catholic laity, now a cipher, would organize 
itself, and a revolt against Rome and against the 
priesthood would ensue. The Roman Catholic Church 
would become the official Irish Church. The Irish 
Parliament would insist on a voice in the promotion 
of churchmen : fees and contributions would be regu- 



lated : blackmail would be resisted : sweating in cott* 
ventual institutions, factories and workshops would be 
stopped : and the ban would be taken off the Univer- 
sities. In a word, the Roman Catholic Church, against 
which Dublin Castle is powerless, would meet the 
one force on earth that can cope with it victoriously. 
That force is democracy : a thing far more catholic 
than itself. Until that force is let loose against it, the 
Protestant garrison can do nothing to the priesthood 
except consolidate it and drive the people to rally 
round it in defence of their altars against the foreigner 
and the heretic. When this is let loose, the Catholic 
laity will make short work of sacerdotal tyranny in 
Ireland, as it has done in- France and Italy. Home 
Rule will herald the day when the Vatican will go 
the way of Dublin Castle and the Island of Saints 
assume the headship of its own Church. It may seem 
incredible that long after the last Orangeman shall lay 
down his chalk for ever, the familiar scrawl on every 
blank wall in the North of Ireland, ' To Hell with the 
Pope,' may "reappear in the South, traced by the hands 
of Catholics who shall have forgotten the traditional 
counter legend, ' To hell with King William ' (of glori- 
ous, pious and immortal memory), but it may happen 

Were Mr. Redmond to embody such a proposition in 
an election manifesto, it would probably sweep the 



Unionist seats and capture the whole Nonconformist 
vote ; but it would forfeit every Catholic one. But 
there is something far too sober in John Redmond, a 
part of his English qualities, one might say (or as 
Bernard Shaw would say, Irish), to substitute one form 
of hysteria for another. In fact, if ever there was an 
embodiment of vigorous lay spirit, which did not run 
wildly into anti-clericalism, it is the present leader. 
Like Grattan, he sees that Nationalism is not a 
religious question, and that there are many temples, 
but only one forum. But were he as rabidly Catholic 
as Colonel Saunderson was Protestant, Catholicism might, 
I grant, once more appear in a guise hardly less terrible 
than the Spanish Inquisition : while if he took Mr. 
Bernard Shaw's attitude, Home Rule might be added to 
the ten persecutions of ancient Rome. 

The Irish party, as he told Pope Pius X., is not 
a Catholic party like the German Centrum or the 
followers of the Comte de Mun ; it is purely a national 
party, and, in all probability, so would the Parliament 
of Ireland be; and like some colonial pro-consul must 
have done in the Roman Senate, discussing the Home 
Rule bills of those days, he pleads for equality of treat- 
ment for all creeds. He is a Roman, not a Romanist, 
and he is as much opposed to the disqualifying of a 
University professor for the shape of his collar as he 

would be to the re-establishing of an Upper House 



composed entirely of mitred heads. Nor, indeed, are the 
clergy themselves averse to or unaware of the strengthen- 
ing of the lay position which would ensue from the 
granting of Home Rule and University teaching. Thus 
Dr. O'Dea, Bishop of Clonfert, in his third report on 
education (p. 296), remarked : "I am convinced that if 
the void in the lay leadership of the country be filled 
up by higher education of the better classes of the 
Catholic party, the power of the priests, so far as it" is 
abnormal or unnecessary, will pass away." 

As it was in the day of the Parliament of 1782, when 
one of the first resolutions of the Protestant leader was 
one of sympathy for their Catholic fellow-subjects, so in 
all probability would it be again. Protestantism 
unallied with English political tyranny would lose half 
its sting and religion become far more a topic for the 
pulpit than the tribune. Certainly as far as the leader 
himself is concerned, it would, as the following extract 
from an American speech testifies : " If I believed that 
Home Rule would mean for the Protestants of Ireland, 
not the oppression at the stake, which is unlikely and 
impossible, but the abrogation of one whit of their just 
civil and religious liberties, I would as an Irish 
Nationalist oppose Home Rule, and would quit my 
country whose people had not learned the first elements 
of liberty. We Irish Catholic Nationalists owe too 
much in our past history to our Protestant fellow- 



countrymen ever to be guilty of the baseness of 
betrayal. We do not forget the history of Ireland. We 
do not forget that it was Protestants who won the 
Parliament of 1782 ; that it was Protestants who organ- 
ized the Society of United Irishmen, both before and 
after it became a revolutionary organization. We do 
not forget that it was Protestants who gave the 
franchise to Catholics in 1793 ; that Protestants led the 
rebel army in '98 ; that Protestants gallantly but vainly 
defended Irish liberty in 1800 ; and we do not forget 
that every day that has passed since has witnessed the 
efforts of Protestants to defend and promote civil and 
religious liberty in the national life of Ireland." 

Lastly we come to the most serious of all the aspects 
of the Home Rule case — its Imperial aspect. Is it a 
force in the direction of disruption, or is it the strength- 
ening of the bonds of federation ? On John Redmond's 
answer to this question he and his demand probably 
stand or fall. Is he a Separationist or an Imperialist. 
Most distinctly an Iniperialist, I say, if his speeches and 
the traditions of Irish leadership are to be relied on. 
What, then, of those American speeches saying the 
Irish claim independence ? Simply that those speeches 
are their own interpreters and that in Home Rule there 
is full recognition of nationality. Grattan never meant 
more : Butt never meant less. As to Ireland becoming 
hostile, I can only s^y that I can see no reason that 



she should care to abandon those great Colonies she 
has helped to people, that great Power which has been 
built up by the sinews of her own sons, and bring down 
the historic Empire of which her genius has been one 
of the shining lights. And as far as I read John 
Redmond, that is not only his idea, but his very 
motive for Home Rule. " Here at the heart of the 
Empire," he wrote in 1903, "lurks its chiefest danger. 
If it was worth millions by the hundreds and lives by 
the tens of thousands to add the Transvaal and the 
Orange Free State to the Empire, what price can pay 
for a prosperous and contented Ireland." 

So, too, his great example of Home Rule, the position 
of Canada, breathes the same spirit. There the two 
peoples were almost at war, and the two creeds dis- 
trusted each other : yet both were eager for Union 
yet filled with the spirit of Washington. For years the 
English Government could only think of Coercion as a 
means to unity, until when the Canadians were ready 
to take the Home Rule by arms — they were being 
refused when they pressed it by argument — it was 
granted them ; and all the scares of terrorists were 
proved false. They were trusted and they were true, 
and to-day the Colony of rebels has become the very 
model of Imperial allegiance. The parallel to the case 
of Ireland is absolutely complete even to the moral ; 
and hardly a month passes without John Redmond 



repeating some part of that brilliant address to the 
Young Scots in Edinburgh in which he dealt fully with 
the history of Canadian Home Rule. 

How, in the face of this and other assurances, the 
Irish leader's mission can be distorted into a scheme 
inaugurating the instant disruption of the Empire it 
seems impossible to explain save by the total absence 
of political honesty or intellectual sanity. It would be 
inaugurating a policy that can only be called suicidal, 
as Mr. Iwan Muller in the Fortnightly observed ; for the 
establishment of an Irish Republic could only be a 
punishment, not a boon, since Ireland could be industrially 
ruined in a month by an alteration of a few pence in 
the Continental tariffs. No one understands that better 
than John Redmond. No, every Irish leader has been 
a Home Ruler and an Imperialist. They have stood 
out for an offensive and defensive alliance not so much 
from choice as from necessity ; and nothing but 
geographical changes can alter that. This is why his 
mission is so statesmanlike, establishing as it does 
industrial and economic progress upon a national basis, 
and developing that nationalism without detriment either 
to creed or to class, under the protection of the great 
Empire it has done its share, and more, in establishing. 
With the Home Rule Bill starts a new page in Anglo- 
Irish history ; and the Home Rule of John Redmond 
is not a danger but an opportunity. 




Reproduced from ^^ Puncli" February 2nd, 1910, by special permission of the proprietors, 
Jfessrs. Bradbltry, Agnew & Company. 

[To face p. 33o. 



T^HE death of the greatest Home Ruler in England, 
as King Edward VII. has been called, has for the 
while suspended the constitutional struggle between the 
aristocracy and the democracy of England begun in 
December, 1909, by the rejection of the Budget. For the 
union of Nationalists, Labour members and the Liberals 
has long since raised the issue out of the narrow sphere 
of party politics. As far as John Redmond is con- 
cerned, it places him in the position of his life. No 
other Irish leader before him has held such a sway, 
either in point of strength or personality, because for 
the moment he has ceased to be the leader of a faction 
and become the spokesman of a cause as world-wide as 
the Empire — that of democracy. 

But if, as the Punch cartoon represents, he can rule 
at Westminster, the rise of a new Irish party under Mr. 
William O'Brien, one of the most significant events 
since the days of Parnell, has not a little weakened his 
power in Ireland just at the time when unity is most 
required. Ostensibly arising out of a dispute over the 



Budget, it is really a reversal of the old Parnellite 
methods and the inauguration of an entente move- 
ment which will seek to bring about Home Rule 
through the consent and co-operation of all parties. 
Hence, some mention must be made of the events of 
the early months of 1910, which for the most part are 
too recent politics to need chronicling in detail. 

The pledge given by the Premier at the Albert Hall 
was the keynote of the whole situation, and accordingly 
the General Election of 1910 was fought upon the 
Veto instead of upon Tariff Reform. The result gave 
to the Liberals only a bare majority that could be 
counted upon the fingers of one hand, hence they had 
to depend for their existence upon the support of the 
Labour and the Nationalist vote. Had the issue been 
one of purely party politics, the position might have 
been insecure under the dictatorship of an Irish leader : 
for example, had it been fought upon the Budget alone. 
As a matter of fact, the point raised by its rejection — 
far more important than the measure itself — had raised 
it into a sphere of national significance. It became the 
struggle of a representative against an unrepresentative 
body. In Ireland especially the peers had by their 
continual delay and rejection of legislation proved them- 
selves the hereditary foes of the people : in England they 
had been no less hostile to the onward progress of 
democracy. For once, therefore, Englishmen and Irish- 



men found themselves allied in defence of the same 
cause and fighting against the same common enemy. 
The position in which the Irish leader found himself as 
arbiter of the destinies of both democracies was one of 
singular difficulty. On the one hand, the Budget was 
most unpopular in Ireland, though undoubtedly one of 
the most favourable of the many unpopular Budgets. 
On the other hand, if it were rejected by Ireland, the 
Government, defeated upon the very measure upon 
which they had appealed to the country, could hardly 
proceed to demolish the authority of the House of 
Lords for a verdict which the people had endorsed. 
At the same time, the whole advantage of the situation, 
as far not only as Ireland but as England was con- 
cerned, lay in curtailment of the power of the Lords 
which the acceptance of the measure by the new House 
of Commons would entail. If it is true, therefore, that 
John Redmond's power was never greater, it is true 
that his task was never more difficult, a difficulty by 
no means lessened by the action of Mr. O'Brien ; and 
the more sympathetic of the British Press quite 
appreciated the situation. 

" He is in possession," wrote the Westminster of Feb. 
nth, "of what according to the tradition of his party 
is the prize of prizes in Parliamentary warfare, the 
power of ejecting a Government by transferring his 
support to the other side. It looks glittering and 



formidable, yet it is of all things the most difficult to 
use for any practical purpose. Twice has it come into 
the possession of an Irish leader, and twice it has 
passed out of his hands without having earned sub- 
stantial advantages to his cause. Now it comes a third 
time, and the question before him is whether a 
third time it may not slip out of his hands without 
being used to any practical purpose." 

It therefore became a question of personal capacity 
whether there would be any advantage reaped from the 
situation, and future history will probably ponder on 
those negotiations and tactics which, according to Sir 
John Gorst, have proved John Redmond the ablest 
politician of his times. The duel between Mr. Asquith 
on the one hand and the Irish leader on the other was 
full of the greatest interest, the one knowing that his 
defeat would mean the driving of the Liberal party into 
the wilderness for years and years, the other knowing 
equally well that Home Rule fell with Liberalism. The 
attitude of Mr. William O'Brien, on the contrary, was 
quite the opposite. He maintained that Home Rule was 
not worth the Budget, and far from identifying its 
success with Liberalism, nearly every division found him 
in the Unionist lobby. He believed that the great duty 
of the Irish party was to throw out the Budget and 
trust to the Unionists. " It is rank folly to talk of the 
prospect of the Veto passing," wrote the Cork Accent of 



Feb. 1 8th, "and it is the supreme interest of this country 
to oppose the Budget, tooth and nail. As it cannot be 
passed without the Irish vote, Mr. Redmond will have 
been guilty of a shameful breach of his pledge if he 
connives at his country's robbery." 

That John Redmond was well aware of the effect of 
the Budget in Ireland is seen from his continual 
negotiations to get concessions for Ireland ; but 
throughout, his eye was fixed on the greater issue ; and 
it was for this reason that he continually made his 
consent to allow the Budget to pass "without the 
alteration of a single comma " dependent upon some 
sort of guarantee, if the Prime Minister did not at once 
proceed with the Veto. The question of precedence 
thus became one of the utmost importance, for it was 
only natural that, in the game of give and take which 
needs must come into every conflict, John Redmond 
should know what he was getting in exchange for his 
own concessions on the subject of the Budget. Provided 
the guarantees were forthcoming, he was quite prepared 
to come to some agreement, and was convinced it could 
be made as tolerable, at least, as any Budget for Ireland 
can be under the Act of Union. " Long before I went 
to Canossa, to use Mr. O'Brien's phrase," said John 
Redmond at Tipperary early in April — "long before Mr. 
O'Brien went with Mr. Healy to his secret interview 
with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, weeks before 



that I had satisfied myself from conversations I had 
had with Mr. Lloyd George that an amicable arrange- 
ment of all these concessions would be arrived at by 
the Government." The concessions referred to were 
those on spirits, licence duties, land taxes, probate, 
stamp duties and revaluation. 

But the Budget he looked upon as a great weapon 
in the hands of the Commons, and he was determined 
not to let it pass till the Lords had accepted the Veto. 
" It was the greatest constitutional crisis for two 
hundred years," he maintained, "and it must end either 
in the abolition of the supremacy of the Lords, or 
the re-establishment of their power for the rest of 
the people's lifetime" — and the great weapon in the 
hands of the Commons was the Budget, and hence he 
called upon Mr. Asquith either to press the Veto or 

In effect, the Irish leader's demand was this : Mr. 
Asquith must make a definite statement that if the 
Lords reject the Veto resolutions he will demand 
guarantees from the King, and if the King refuses, he 
will resign office. Also that, until the Lords haye 
passed the Veto resolutions or the King has given 
guarantees, the Budget shall not be allowed to leave 
the House of Commons. 

For above all things a dilatory way of treating with 
the great problem was to be avoided at any cost, and 



there were not wanting those who wished to postpone 
the conflict altogether. 

The King's Speech, for example, had neither been 
emphatic, clear, nor even grammatical upon the all- 
important point of the readjustment of the authority 
of the two Houses. A suggestion of the internal reform 
of the Lords had been mooted, but as the Nation 
rightly observed, the elections had not been fought on 
the reform of the Lords, but upon the supremacy of 
the Commons, and for this John Redmond stuck out, 
asking that the Prime Minister should ask for guarantees 
from the King in the event of another deadlock. This 
Mr. Asquith refused on the plea that he wished to 
keep the Sovereign out of party politics, and that the 
King could hardly be asked to give any party a 
blank cheque. The retort was more telling than true 
and was well met by the Irish leader. He told the 
Government that they must therefore produce a Bill 
which, if rejected, could then be submitted to the 
Sovereign — but that the Government must be prepared to 
give some assurances before the Budget was passed. 

The tension of the moment was supreme, but early 
in March the Prime Minister somewhat relieved it by 
announcing that the Government had adopted the 
methods for the destruction of the Veto commended 
by the Irish leader, of first introducing resolutions in 
the Lords and the Commons. These were to affirm 

337 22 


the total exclusion of the Lords from finance, the 
restriction of the Veto within the lifetime of one 
Parliament, and the substitution of a democratic for a 
hereditary second Chamber. 

The appeal to the Crown upon such a proposition 
could no longer be thought unreasonable, much as a 
certain section of the Conservative Press denounced the 
passing of the Budget over the heads of the British 
electorate and the destroying of the Constitution at the 
dictation of John Redmond. But throughout, the Irish 
leader spoke as a House of Commons man, and one 
as deeply versed in the English Constitution as any of 
his critics. The " guarantee " asked for was at root 
but the exercise of that same power which had 
triumphed in the passing of the Reform Bill of 1832. 
Thus Lord Crewe, speaking of the power of the Prime 
Minister to create peers, said, " If a deadlock exists 
between the two Houses, and the country has clearly 
expressed its will, the Minister of the day is entitled 
to advise the Sovereign to create a sufficient number of 
peers to override the opposition of the House, and I 
should like to say — and it is important to remember 
the distinction — that if ever such an occasion does 
arise, it is not a question of the Minister's going to 
the Sovereign and asking the Sovereign to create a certain 
number of peers as a favour, but it is the constitu- 
tional exercise of the power of advice by the Minister 



to the Sovereign. That is an important distinction, and 
it is important because it implies this, that the Minister 
has no right to give this advice unless he is prepared 
to say he would act upon it." 

This power of the Minister might at first sight seem 
to weaken the power of the Crown; and at first, indeed, 
the cry was raised against the Republicanism of John 
Redmond. As a matter of fact, it would really strengthen 
it. Thus the Nation pointed out on March 5th : 

"The Liberal party therefore appeals directly to the 
Crown, and says with respect that it is its duty and 
right and power to act on the verdict of 19 10, when 
that verdict has been clearly embodied in proceedings 
and acts of the House of Commons. What," it con- 
tinues, " is the Crown in a country like ours ? It lives by 
and for the people. The future of the monarchy is 
absolutely bound up with the democracy . . . our 
crowned republic rests on the fact that even if some 
classes regard the monarchy as a stand-by for privilege 
and property, the masses also accept it as a guarantee 
that their liberties are to hold and that progress to 
further franchises is not to be barred. If we appeal to 
the Crown, therefore, we also appeal to the people." 

It was this principle for which John Redmond fought : 
essentially constitutional, loyal and modern, and, when 
the last word has been said, the strongest pillar of the 
Throne ; certainly far stronger than ever the authority of 

339 22* 


the Lords could make it — the only one if the Throne is 
to be identified with progress. 

The climax of the whole situation was reached 
towards the middle of April, when Mr. Asquith, after 
months of hesitation, capitulated and brought in his 
resolutions. "We feel compelled to take off our hat 
to Mr. Redmond," wrote the Pall Mall Gazette. " Red- 
mond is King," wrote the Daily Mail, and The Times 
itself admitted, "Redmond is the real master." 

" Undoubtedly the statement is true," as T. P. O'Connor 
wrote in the Irish World. " From his first speech to 
his last Mr. Redmond always adhered exactly to the 
same demand — namely, that the Premier, Mr. Asquith, 
should ask the King for guarantees, the moment the 
Commons had adopted and the Lords had rejected the 
Veto resolutions, to pass these resolutions by the 
creation of enough peers of Parliament, and, in case 
the request was refused, that Premier Asquith should 
follow it up with a request that if another election 
were demanded he should go to the election with the 
King's guarantee in his pocket and with the right 
to announce that fact to the people. This is what 
Mr. Asquith's announcement has now done. It is almost 
word for word Mr. Redmond's persistent demand." 

The actual announcement was the scene of the wildest 
exultation, the members of the Liberal party forget- 
ting all reserve and cheering, waving hats, papers and 



handkerchiefs and according the Premier an ovation such 
as was " never given before except once or twice in Mr. 
Gladstone's most magnificent hours." The Tories, how- 
ever, were exasperated and shouted back to the Liberals — 
" Why don't you cheer for Redmond ? " and to the Irish — 
" Paid by America ! " and it was only with the greatest 
difficulty that the Irish leader's brother could be held 
back in a personal onslaught on young Lord Winter- 
ton — "the most ostentatious insulter of the Liberals 
and the Irish." As to the leader himself, men rushed from 
all sides of the House to shake hands with him and con- 
gratulate him on the success of his persevering tactics. 
It is doubtful, indeed, if either O'Connell or Parnell 
ever received such an English tribute, and, as T. P. goes on 
to observe, his name is now cheered as warmly as 
Asquith's or Lloyd George's in the great English 
gatherings of democracy. In spite of Mr. Balfour's 
taunts, "You would give Home Rule to the Irish as 
the price for the Veto " — a statement which is singularly 
unhistoric of the party for whom Home Rule has 
been the damnosa hereditas, as he has elsewhere said — 
the general tendency seems to be, in the words of 
Mr. Winston Churchill, " We want to make a national 
settlement with Ireland." 

There is no quarrel with the Crown, for the Crown is 
held of the people, as Mr. Asquith pointed out — a far more 
secure tenure than that by which either Tudor or Stuart 



Sovereign held their thrones. It is Crown and Commons 
against the Lords — in other words, democracy against 
aristocracy — which is to be the great fight of the new 
reign, and as there has never been any battle between 
the two democracies of England and Ireland, the cause 
of Home Rule must inevitably triumph with the victory 
of the Commons over the Lords. 

John Redmond stands at the present moment as 
the embodiment of English and Irish democracy. He 
stands for popular government, according to the best 
traditions of English history. That the Veto of the 
Lords should survive the Veto of the Crown is to him 
an anomaly passing comprehension. That he is there- 
fore disloyal it is absurd to suppose, for he is endorsing 
■the English instinct from Magna Charta to the Reform 
Bill. Even the fact that there has been no official act 
of condolence or expression of sympathy from the Irish 
party on the death of King Edward, than whom there 
has not been a more sympathetic Sovereign towards 
Ireland since James II., proves nothing, though the 
Pall Mall Gazette referred to the fact as the "one 
jarring note." "When it is borne in mind," it wrote, 
"that Mr. Redmond and his party are at this very 
moment demanding from Great Britain in the most 
menacing and arrogant way a great boon, their indiffer- 
ence to British feeling becomes an insolence which a 
proud people will deeply resent. Yet Mr. Redmond is 



perfectly consistent. He has never, save in one or two 
attempts which have been too clumsy to convince any- 
one, attempted to win Home Rule by persuasion or loyal 

It is true that a graceful tribute from the Irish leader 
would have done more than anything to win popular 
sympathy in England ; at the same time, it would be 
entirely out of keeping with the traditions of the 
Nationalist party to recognize in any way officially the 
Sovereign until the restitution of the Home Parliament, 
so unconstitutionally taken away, has once more made 
him constitutional in Ireland. Personally, probably every 
single member of the party loved and appreciated the 
efforts of the late King. Over and over again in his 
speeches has the Irish leader given expression to this 
sentiment. It is not loyalty withdrawn but postponed ; 
and if resentment is felt it can hardly have juster founda- 
tions than the resentment of a nation at the loss of an 
autonomy that has cost it millions in population. 

It is said that King Edward VII. was himself a Home 
Ruler and had made it the ambition of his life not to 
hand on to his successor with the English Crown the 
burden of Irish discontent which he had inherited from 
his ancestors: It may be true and it may not, but if 
purely a fiction, it expresses a general feeling for a 
rapprochement which is entirely reciprocated by the 
Irish leader. The next reign will probably settle the 



great grievance. If it does, it will see the return of 
that loyalty for which the Irish shed their blood in 
the days of the Stuarts, and the words of the Freeman 
probably echoed the sentiments of John Redmond 
when in a leading article it said : 

" He, George V., like King Edward, has travelled over 
the world. He has been through all the self-governing 
possessions of the Crown. He has had abundant 
opportunities of learning the blessings which Home Rule 
brings to the people and the Colonies. . . . His public 
career may be said to have been thus far closely 
identified with the growth and recognition and realization 
of the Home Rule idea and principle within the Empire. 
It is not very far-fetched to imagine that he has 
assimilated the lessons thus inculcated. It will be no 
new thing to him should he before long be called 
upon to open our Irish Parliament in person. Such a 
great act of State will be in perfect harmony with the 
greatest public duties he has hitherto discharged. And 
we can promise him, when that joyful occasion brings 
him to Dublin, the first honestly Irish reception an 
English monarch has ever had here." 




Abercorn, Duke of, 171. 

America, United States of, Red- 
mond's speeches in, 23, 27, 37, 39, 
40, 52 ; Redmond in New York, 
79 ; and Parnell's death, 80 ; 
Redmond invited to visit, 123, 
126 ; Redmond sails for, 163 ; 
Irish in, 282 ; Lord North and, 

Amnesty, Gladstone and, loi ; Red- 
mond on, 102 ; Morley on, 102. 

Annual Register, The, 66, 168. 

Armstrong, G. R., 161. 

Asquith, Right Hon. H. H. makes 
his name, 87 ; his Liberalism, 185 ; 
becomes Premier, 218 ; his ap- 
proval of Gladstonian policy, 2 1 8- 
9 ; Stead on, 273 ; and the Albert 
Hall pledge, 332 ; and the veto, 
336-7, 340. 

Aston, Capt. Thomas, 4. 

Aughavanagh, 251. 

Australia, Redmond's mission to, 36 ; 
Sir Henry Parkes' attempt to expel 
Redmond from, 38 ; New South 
Wales, 37 ; Sydney, 38; Melbourne, 
39, 43 ; Parliament's address on 
Home Rule, 217-8, 281. 


Balfour, Right Hon. A. J., 166, 246, 
341 ; welcomes Redmond from 

imprisonment, 50 ; and Redmond's 
imprisonment, 102, 230 ; and Irish 
education, 119; and Redmond's 
power, 135 ; on land tenure, 169, 
1 70 ; and the Irish Universities, 
198, 202, 205 ; and his resignation, 
1 80- 1 ; and the Local Government 
Act, 260. 
Ballytrent House, 9. 
Barry, Dr., 250. 
Barry, Judge, 12. 
Bawne, Archbishop, 191. 
Bell, Professor, 12, 17, 237. 
Bernhardt, Sarah, 246. 
Birrell, Right Hon. Augustine, 199, 

209, 210. 
Blake, Mr., 122, 125. 
Botha, General, 227. 
Boulanger, General, 112. 
Boulogne, Negotiations at, 63, et sqq. 
Bourne, Francis, Archbishop of 

Westminster, 191. 
Bradlaugh, Charles, iii. 
Brand, Sir Henry, 30. 
Brennan, Sir Thomas, 36. 
Bright, John, 170. 
Brooks, Sydney, 312. 
Bryce, Right Hon. James, 199, 206, 

ao8, et sqq. 
Burke, Edmund, 93, 153, 238, 240, 

Burke, Father Tom, 250. 
Burke, Thomas, 35. 
Butler, Sir William, 231. 



Butt, Isaac, Redmond on, 25 ; his 
methods, 119; Redmond compared 
with, 257, 287 ; as a leader, 299, 

300. 303. 328- 
Byron, Lord, 13, 237. 


Cadogan, George, fifth Earl of, 198. 

Cameron, Mgr. 195. 

Campbell, Henry, 63. 

Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H., his 
leadership of the Opposition, 135- 
6 ; and Home Rule, 166, l86, 216 
et sqq. 

Canada, Its position in 1839,42; 
compared with Ireland, 92-3 ; her 
Parliament and Home Rule, 163-4, 
328-9 ; Chamberlain and, 164 ; 
Roman hierarchy in, 193. 

Capel, Mgr. 201. 

Carey, James, 37. 

Carson, Sir Edward, 179. 

Cavendish, Lord Frederick, 35, 37, 

Chamberlain, Right Hon. Joseph 
and Redmond's American speeches, 
40, 160 ; and Redmond in Home 
Rule debate, 88, 92-3 ; and supre- 
macy, 97 ; and Canadian address on 
Home Rule, 164. 

Chapman, Hon Austin, M.P., 281. 

Charles I., 30. 

Churchill, Lord Randolph, 108, 112, 

Churchill, Winston, 341. 

Churchtown, Monastery at, 4. 

Clancy, J. J., 63, 176, 241. 

Clare Lord, 297. 

Clemenceau, 248. 

Clongowes College, 11, «/ sqq., 236. 

Coercion Bill, The, 25, 27, 35, 48. 

Committee Room No. Fifteen, 51, 
54, 56, S8. 

Conventions, Irish National, 173 ; on 

Irish Councils Bill, 212. 
Coote, Sir A., 178. 
Cork Accent, The, 334. 
Costigan, Hon. John, 164. 
Cromwell, Oliver, 4, 5. 
Crook, W. M., 241, 246. 
Curran, J. P. 297. 

Daily Chronicle, The, 133, i8l, 193. 

Daily Mail, The, 340. 

Daily News, 128. 

Daily Tele^aph, The, 134. 

Dalton, James, 40. 

Dalton, Johannah, see Mrs. John 

Dalton, Michael, 40. 

Davitt, Michael, 84, 108, 153,196; 
his arrest, 31 ; Australian mission 
described by, 36 : opposes Red- 
mond, 77 ; and Healy, 105 ; and 
clerical interference, 113; and 
reunion, 122. 

Deakin, Hon. Alfred, 281. 

De Freyne, Lord, 168, 171. 

Devonshire, Duke of, 119, 120. 

Devereux, Mr., 6. 

De Wet, General, 1 39, 227. 

Dillon, John, 132 ; and Davitt's 
arrest, 31, 232; and Boulogne 
negotiations, 65; and Parnell's 
death, 71, 74 ; opposes Redmond, 
81, 125, 222 ; and land agitation, 
lOI ; election to party leadership, 
116 ; resigns leadership, 121 ; and 
Maynooth, 133 ; his sincerity, 134 ; 
and the Coronation, 159 ; and 
Balfour, 181 ; and Catholicism, 
190 ; on Redmond's policy, 219. 

Dilnot, Frank, 254, 258. 

Disraeli Benj. (Earl of Beaconsfield), 
243, 289. 



Duffy, Sir Charles Gavan, 122. 
Dunraven, Earl of, 172, 174-S, 178, 
199, 206 

Edward VII., King, 154, 157 tt 
sqq., 166-7, 194-5. 331. 336-7, 342 
et sqq. 

Emmet, Robert, 234. 

Emmet, Thomas A., 80. 

Errington, Mr., 109 

Evening News, The, 228, 234. 

Everard, Col. Nugent, 172. 

Fegan, Father, 15. \ 

Fingall, Earl of, 176. 
Fitzgerald, Lord Edward, 6, 41. 
Fitzpatrick, Rev. John, 122. 
Fitzwilliam, Lord, 95. 
Flavin, Alderman, 76. 
Forster, Right Hon. W. A., 34. 
Fortnightly Jieview, The, 27, 330. 
Fox, Right Hon. C. J., 153, 295, 299. 
Freeman's Journal, The, 68-9, 103, 

124-S, 156. 184, 284, 344. 
Freys, S. H., 160. 
Froude, J.. A., 293. 
Fulford, George T., 193. 
Furlong, Father, 26. 


Gannon John, 1 3. 

Garibaldi, General, 102. 

George V., 344. 

George, Right Hon. Lloyd, 336, 341. 

Gilbert, Sir William, 255. 

Gladstone, Right Hon. W. E., 42, 
100, 184, 229, 271 ; in possession 
of the House 31 ; and Redmond's 
Land Bill, 34 ; his first Home 
Rule Bill, 45 ; his letter on Par- 
nell's leadership, 52 ; Morley's 
life of, 55 ; Redmond describes his 

deputation to, 59 et sq^. ; his 
sympathy with Nationalist party, 
73 ; his second Home Rule Bill, 
78-9, 84 et sqq., 88 ; and the Irish, 
loi ; resignation of, 103 ; and the 
Irish champions, 128; and Par- 
nell's personality, 137 ; and Irish 
University, 198; and Irish "in- 
discretions," 235 ; compared to 
Fox, 29s, 299, 301. 

Globe, The, 160. 

Gorst, Sir John, 334. 

Grattan Henry, 95, 186, 257, 289, 
294-5^297*/ sqq., 328. 

Gray's Inn, 44. 

Greville Charles, 109. 

Gros, Lady Basilea le, 3. 

Gros, Raymond le, 2, 3. 

Guardian, The, 119. 


Haldane, Right Hon, Richard, 184. 

Hamilton, Lady, 112. 

Hampden, Viscount, see Sir Henry 

Harcourt, Sir William, 104. 

Harrington, T. C, 124, 133, 157, 165. 

Hayden, Mr., 165. 

Healy, Father, 255. 

Healy, Thomas, 124, 133-4, 151, 165. 

Healy, T. M., 55, 122, 254; and 
Redmond's election, 21-2 ; and 
deputation to Gladstone, 60-1 ; he 
attacks Parnell, 66-7 ; opposes dis- 
tribution of seats in election, 8r ; 
his fidelity to Parnell, 82 ; and 
party protests, 105 ; political ostra- 
cism of, 116; supports Redmond 
in unity negotiations, 123 ; as a 
leader, 133 ; Daily Chronicle on, 
134 ; disagreement with Redmond, 
221-2 ; Redmond on, 260 ; inter- 
view with Chancellor of the 
Exchequer, 335. 



Henry II., 3. 

Higgins, Mr., 279, 281. 

Hill, Lord Arthur, 94. 

Hoey, General, 9, 231. 

Home Rule Bill (1886), 44-5, 117. 

Home Rule Bill (1893), 77 et sqq., 

88 et sqq., 100 et sqq. 
Howard, Louis G., 9. 
Howard, Mrs. L. G. , 253. 
Howard, L. B. Redmond, 253. 
Hughes, Sir Frederick, 6. 
Hughes, Rev. Hugh Price, 52. 


Ireland, History of, i et sqq. ; in- 
vasion of by English, 2-4 ; re- 
bellion of, 98 ; uncrowned King 
of, 138 ; Parliament of, 291. 

Irish Financial Reform League, 1 18. 

Irish Land Bill, 166-7, 171, 173. 

Irish National League, 39, 78. 

Irish People, The, 132. 

Irish Unity Conference, 120. 

Irish World, The, 313, 340. 

Isaacs, Hon. Isaac A., 281. 

James II., 342. 

Jordan, Jeremiah, M.P., 124. 


Kane, Father, \2. et sqq., 18. 
Kenmare, Earl of, 176. 
Kenny, Dr., 115. 
Kilmainham Treaty, 34, 140. 
Kruger, President, 153. 

Land Bill, The, 34. 
Land Conference, 174-5, '77- 
Land League, 22, 39, 163, 169. 
Land Purchase Act, 180. 

Lansdowne, Lord, 179, 205. 
Laurier, Sir Wilfrid, 109, 163, 188, 

192-3, 278. 
Leamy, E., 61. 
Lecky, Right Hon. W. E. H., 293-4, 

Leo XIII., 201. 
Lever, Charles, 255. 
Loftus, Sir Nicholas, 5. 
Logue, Cardinal, 321. 
Londonderry, Marquis of, 86, 1 76. 

Long, Right Hon. Walter, 180. 

Longmore, Hon. Francis, 43. 

Louis XIV. of France, iii. 

Lover, Samuel, 255. 

Lucy, Sir Henry, 87. 

Lynch, Rev. P., 156. 

Lyne, Sir William, 281. 

Lynn, Judge, 80. 


Madge, W. T., 162. 
McCarthy, Mr. Justin, 71, 125, 312 ; 
on Redmond's father, 7 ; on 
Redmond as whip, 32-3 ; on 
Redmond and Parnell, 54 et sqq.; 
and the Committee Room Fifteen 
discussion, 62; elected chairman, 
65; on reunion, 115; resigns 
chairmanship, 116; his love of 
literature, 133 ; and clericalism, 

MacDermot, The, K.C., 176. 

MacDonnell, Antony Lord, 177 et 
sqq., 205, 209, 210. 

McDonnell, F. J., 169. 

MacSweeny, Marquis, 195. 

Manning, Cardinal, 8, 201, 250. 

Mayo, Earl of, 1 72, 198. 

Meath, Bishop of, 67. 

Meynell, Mr. Wilfred, 20. 

Mill, John Stuart, 170. 

Mirabeau, 113. 

Moore, Thomas, 236, 239, 252. 


Morley, John Viscount, 55, 58, 95, 

102, 113, 185-6. 
Mountjoy, Lord, 244. 
Mun, Comte de, 326. 


Napoleon, 1, 6, 138. 
Nation, The, 337, 339. 
Nelson, Horatio Lord, H2. 
Newman, Cardinal, 250. 
Nineteenth Century, The, 84. 
Norfolk, Duke of, 114, 201. 
North, Lord, 394, 309. 
Nulty, Bishop, no. 


O'Brien, Barry, 62 ; on Redmond's 
reception in colonies, 38 ; on 
Anti-Parnellite policy, 60 ; and 
Boulogne negotiations, 61 ; and 
clericalism, 69 ; his " Hundred 
Years of Irish History," 289, 291 ; 
his " Dublin Castle," 307. 

O'Brien, Mr. Justice, 112. 

O'Brien, William, m.p., 159, 222, 
260; and Boulogne negotiations, 
63 et sqq. ; on Redmond, 76 ; and 
Healy, 81 ; and Gladstone, 100 ; 
and United Irish League, 122, 164 ; 
his powers of organization, 133 ; 
and the Land Conference, 1 71 -2; 
on Council's Bill, 205 ; leads new 
party, 215, 331 ; prosecuted for 
conspiracy, 232 ; and Home Rule 
from Unionists, 334. 

O'Connell, Daniel, 69, 222, 238, 263, 
319, 341 ; and the Clongowes 
Debating Society, 15 ; clericalism, 
109, 194 ; Redmond compared 
with, 248-9, 257 ; opinions of, 300 j 
his address to Queen Victoria, 302. 
O'Connor, T. P., 34, 81-2, 216 
et sqq., 340. 

O'Dea, Dr., 327. 

O'Donnell, Frank H., 133-4, 200 

et sqq., 214, 299. 
O'Donnell, John, 165. 
O'Donnell, Nicholas, 279, 281. 
O'Donovan, James, 265. 
O'Kelly, Conor, 165. 
O'Neill, Roy, 41. 
O'Reilly, Boyle, 39. 
O'Shea, Mrs., 67 et sqq., 80, 140. 
Oxford Magaxine, The, 241. 


Palles, Lord Chief, 177. 

Pall Mall Gazette, The, 340, 342. 

Parkes, Sir Henry, 37-8. 

Parnell, Charles Stewart, and 
Redmonds' nomination, 21-2 ; 
Redmond sheds his blood for, 23 ; 
raises new party, 23 et sqq. ; wires 
for Redmond, 27-8 ; appoints 
Redmond whip, 33; and Redmond's 
oratory, 34 ; and the Kilmainham 
treaty, 34; and the Phoenix Park 
murders, 35, 39 ; sends Redmond 
to colonies, 36 ; crisis of, and 
Redmond, 51 ; Redmond's loyalty 
to, 52, 56, 59. 66, 127 ; trial of, 
54-5 ; and independence of party, 
57 ; sacrifice of, 58 ; and his inter- 
view with Gladstone, 61 ; and the 
debate in Room Fifteen, 62, 85; and 
the negotiations at Boulogne, 63 
St sqq. ; Healy 's attitude toward, 
66 ; clerical opinion on retention 
of, 67 ; his marriage to Mrs. 
O'Shea, 68 ; Freeman's Journal 
secedes from, 69 ; and clericalism, 
70; his death and burial, 70 
et sqq., 108 ; succeeded by 
Redmond, 73, 76, 96, 127, 132; 
his murderers, 74 ; American 
sympathy with, 80 ; anniversary of 
his death, 105 et sqq., 125 ; Weekly 



Parnell, Charles Stewart — con. 
Register on, 113; return to policy 
of, 124 et sqq. ; compared to 
Redmond, \t,(3 et sqq. ; 231, 286; 
his duality of character, 229 ; his 
shooting lodge taken by Redmond, 
25 1 ; his bitterness, 257 ; his aloof- 
ness, 259 ; his diplomacy, 267 ; 
G. B. Shaw on the 18S6 Home 
Rule Bill, 304. 

Pamellites, 87 ; their tactics and 
demands, 80, 83 ; fight the Church, 
82; Redmond on failure of, 84; and 
Catholicism, no; in New York, 
125 ; Redmond on reunion of, 148 ; 
demands of, 299, 320. 

Paul, Herbert, 87, 247, 320. 

Peel, Sir Robert, 198. 

Pembroke, Earl of (Strongbow), 2, 3. 

Pepper, Rev. George, 37. 

Phoenix Park Murders, The, 35, 37-8, 

SI. IS4- 
Philips, Wendel, 24. 
Pigott, Richard, 140. 
Pitt, William, 153, 289, 295, 298-9. 
Pius X., 194 et sqq., 326. 
Plunkett, Right Hon. Sir Horace, 

"S. 156. 312 etsqq. 
Plunkett, Lord, 297. 
Foe, Col. Hutchinson, 172, 178. 
Power, M.P., Mr. P. J., 124. 
Power, Mr. R., 31. 
Power, Mr. W., 252. 
Power, Mrs. W., 252. 
Punch, 1S4, 2SS, 331- 


Reform Association, Irish, 177. 
Redmond, Alexander, 4. 
Redmond, Esther, see Mrs. Power. 
Redmond, Father Frances, 6. 
Redmond, General, 2. 
Redmond, Johanna, 252. 
Redmond, Sir John, 4. 

Redmond, John Edward, his ancestry, 
I et sqq. , 247 ; his birth, 9 ; his 
county, lo-l I ; his life at Clongowes 
College, II et sqq. ; studying for 
the Bar, 18 et sqq. ; asked to repre- 
sent Wexford, 2 1 ; joins the Land 
League, 22 ; becomes candidate for 
New Ross, 22 ; first links with 
Parnell, 23 ; elected member for 
New Ross, 25 et sqq. ; first acquaint- 
ance with the House of Commons, 
28 et sqq.; suspension and expulsion, 
30 et sqq. ; as whip, 32 ; as speaker 
and organizer, 33-4 ; and the 
Phcenix Park murders, 35 et sqq. ; 
his marriage, 40 ; his American 
speeches, 41-2 ; his Melbourne 
speech on Home Rule, 43-4 ; called 
to the Bar, 44 ; charged with 
intimidation, 46 ; his denial, 47-8 ; 
his imprisonment, 49-50 ; and the 
O'Shea affair, 51 et sqq., 80; his 
devotion to Parnell, ^$et sqq., 66, 
76; and the deputation to Gladstone, 
60 et sqq. ; goes to Boulogne with 
Parnell, 63 ; proceedings at 
Boulogne, 63 et sqq. ; and Parnell's 
death, 70 et sqq. ; puts up for Cork, 
76 ; his defeat, 77 ; elected for 
Waterford City, 77 ; declares the 
Parnellite policy, 78-9, 83 ; goes to 
New York, 79 ; his speech at New 
York Academy of Music, 80 et sqq. ; 
and Gladstone's policy, 84 et sqq. ; 
his great speech in the House, 86 
et sqq. ; Press opinions of, 89, 129, 
133 et sqq., 163, 334, 340 ; and Mr. 
Chamberlain, 89, 92-3, 160-1 ; and 
the Irish priesthood, 90 et sqq. ; 
defines his Home Rule policy, 94 
etsqq., 104, ii5;and evicted tenants, 
100 ; and political prisoners, 101-2 ; 
and Gladstone's resignation, 103 ; 
and the anniversary of Parnell's 



death, 105-6 ; and the Bishops, 108 
et sqq. ; proposes " Association of 
Independent Nationalists," 117; 
and the Financial Relations Com- 
mission, 1 18 ; and the Irish Unity 
Conference, 120 et sqq. ; invitation 
to New York, 123 ; visits America, 
125, 163 ; and the South African 
War, 126, 129 et sqq., 150 et sqq. ; 
leads the reunited party, 127 et sqq.\ 
compared with Parnell, 137 et sqq. ; 
his manifesto, 143 et sqq. ; and 
Queen Victoria's visit to Ireland 
15s ; and King Edward's Corona- 
tion, 157 et sqq. ; and Irish Educa- 
tion, 165, 176, 179, iSg et sqq., 201 
et sqq. ; and the Land Bill, 166 
et sqq. ; contest between Balfour 
and, 181 ; and the Liberals, 183 
et sqq. ; speech at Glasgow, 184 ; 
Punch cartoon and, 184 ; Lord 
Morleyand, 185-6; and the National 
movement, 188-9 J letter from Arch- 
bishop of Westminster to, 191 ; 
interview with Pius X., 194-5 ; 
letter from Pius X. to, 196 ; 
and the New Irish University, 
197 et sqq. ; on denominational- 
ism, 200 ; on half measures, 
205 ; and the Chief Secretaryship, 
208-9 ; ^""i t'l^ Irish Councils Bill, 
211 et sqq. ; and his critics, 214-5 ; 
Campbell-Bannerman's support of, 
217-8; Asquith supports, 218-9; 
account of his stewardship, 220, 
223 ; contest with Healy, 22 1 ; and 
Home Rule for England, 224 ; and 
House of Lords, 225 ; his wish for 
peace, 226-7 ; as a man, 228 et sqq. ; 
his story of Parnell, 229 ; his 
religion and politics, 233 ; his love 
of literature, 236 ; as an orator, 
237, 240 ; his Celtic characteristics, 
237-8 ; on England, 238 et sqq. 

his loyalty and patriotism, 241-2 ; 
and the Irish Colonies, 244 ; 
his cosmopolitanism, '246 ; his 
Catholicism, 247 et sqq. ; his quiet 
tastes, 250 et sqq. ; his family 
circle, 252-3 ; his sense of humour, 
254 et sqq. ; compared with former 
leaders, 257 ; his self-restraint, 259, 
his knowledge of the House, 259, 
260 ; and his methods, 261 et sqq. ; 
his practicality, 261 et sqq. ; his 
ideal Parliament, 262 ; as an 
agitator and organizer, 264-5 ! ^'"i 
the United Irish League, 266-7, 
314 et sqq. ; and the Irish Party, 
268 et sqq. ; and the English 
Constitution, 274-5 ; and the 
colonies, 278 et sqq. ; G. B. Shaw 
on, 285 et sqq. ; and the Irish 
demand, 289 et sqq. ; on Early 
Irish Parliaments, 291 et sqq. ; his 
demands for Ireland, 298 et sqq. ; 
on the necessity for Home Rule, 
306 et sqq., 328 et sqq. ; his mission, 
311 et sqq ; repudiates intolerance, 
319 ; his moderation, 326 ; his 
present position, 331 et sqq. ; and 
the Budget, 335-6 ; his democracy, 
342 ; and King Edward's death, 

Redmond, Mrs. John, 40, 46, 243. 
Redmond, Patrick Walter, 7. 
Redmond, Walter, 7. 
Redmond, William Archer (John 

Redmond's father), 7 et sqq., 14, 

16, 21. 
Redmond, Capt. William Hoey 

Kearney (John Redmond's brother), 

9. 22, 34, 37, 40. 63, 254, 256. 
Redmond, William (John Redmond's 

son), 253. 
Register, The Weekly, 113, 
Rosebery, Earl of, 103, 167, 254. 
Rossmore, Lord, 178. 



Ross, New, Redmond elected for, 

Russell, George, 241-2. 
Russell of Killowen, Lord, 20. 
Russell, Lord John, 170. 
Russell, T. W., 165, 172. 

Salisbury, Marquis of, 86, 117, 157. 
Saunderson, Col. 173, 176, 312, 321, 


Scully, Vincent, 63. 

Sexton, Thomas, S5. 59 etsqq. 

Shakespeare, 236, 239, 246-7. 

Shaw, G. Bernard, his preface to 
" John Bull's Other Island," 285 et 
sqq. ; on military rule, 309; on Home 
Rule and clericalism, 323 et sqq. 

Shaw, William, 25. 

Shawe-Taylor, Capt. 171, 178. 

Shelley, Percy Bysshe, 13, 237. 

South African War, 126 ; 128 «/ sqq. ; 
150 et sqq. 

Southwell, Arthur Low, 178. 

Speaker, The, J 29, 131. 

Spencer, Earl, 35. 

Stead, W. T., 135, 194,209, 273, 282. 

Stoneyhurst College, 8. 

Sullivan, Sir Arthur, 255. 

Sullivan, A. M., 31. 

Sullivan, T. D., 74. 

Swift, Jonathan, 238. 

Tablet, The, 8. 
Talbot-Crosbie, D., 178. 
Talbot-Crosbie, S., 178. 
Times, The, on Redmond and the 
Phoenix Park murders, 35-6 ; on 

political prisoners, 102 ; on Parnell 
anniversary, 107 ; on reunion of 
Irish party, 120 ; on Redmond as 
new leader, 129 ; on Redmond at 
the Coronation, 158; and Parnellism 
and crime, 160; on Redmond's 
dictatorship, 340. 

Tone, Wolf, 41. 

Treaty of Peace, 172. 

Tyrrell, Father George, 250. 

Trinity College, Dublin, 18, 175-6. 


United Ireland, 74. 

United Irish League, 122, 142, 149, 

162, 164 et sqq., 173, 190, 265 et 

sqq., 282, 3 1 4-5. 


Victoria, Queen, 49, 154^/^^^., 234, 
256, 302. 


Walker, Capt. 46-7. 

Walsh, Dr., Archbishop of Dublin, 

67-8, 71, 165, 322. 
Walsh, Edward, 46. 
Walshe, J. W., 37. 
Ward, Wilfred, 250. 
Watson, M.P., Mr., 281. 
Weekly Register, The, 20, 112. 
Weldon, Sir A., 178. 
Wellington, Duke of, 224. 
Westminster Gazette, The, 333. 
Wexford People, The, 46, 
Wordsworth, William, 237. 
Wyndham, Right Hon. George, 150, 

165, 167, 171, 173, 180, 260. 

Printed at The Chapel River Press, Kingston, Surrey.